Responding Rightly to Overwhelming Calamity
Things can just seem to go from bad to worse. Many of us have had days like that. While we may not go through things quite as bad and heavy-duty as David did, we all still need to respond as he did. What we find in verse 6 is something we must remember and apply: “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” That must be what all believers today rely upon – not our own strength or plans or ideas or schemes. When our world falls apart all around us, there is only one safe haven we can turn to.
Simply looking at the morning newspaper headlines is enough to discourage most folks. We read of fatal accidents, of shootings, of house fires, of kidnappings, of child abuse, of business collapses, of wars and hostilities, and so on. And Christians of course are not immune from suffering, hardships, trials and heartache. Such is life in a very fallen world.
Have you ever wept until you could cry no more? Do some days seem to be one disaster after another? Are you seemingly in the midst of one continuous calamity? Does it seem like everything is going wrong and there is no end in sight? Does it sometimes seem like the bottom has dropped out, and you cannot handle another tragedy or calamity?
The Bible of course records stories like this – most notably Job. Imagine all the things he went through in one fell swoop. Most folks would not be able to survive such carnage and disaster. Yet Job remained strong in his faith despite hell breaking out all around him.
In my morning reading I read about another Old Testament example of this. It concerns David. As you know, he had a real rough go of things. He was told he would be king, but all he seemed to do was try to escape the wrath of King Saul and various enemies. He seemed to be much more like a forsaken refugee hiding in one place after another than God’s chosen leader.
Just before he was finally anointed King of Judah (see 2 Samuel 2) and then of Israel (see 2 Samuel 5), he had one of the roughest and most difficult periods of his life. We read about the climax in 1 Samuel 30:1-6:
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Wow, talk about having a really bad day! Dale Ralph Davis reminds us of a very apt passage from Amos 5:18-19 in this regard:
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.