In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. (Psalm 86:7)
I must confess that I feel pretty low today. For several weeks now I've been having some pretty difficult conversations on many different fronts and with many different people in my life. Some of those have gone well, some have not. I'm pretty emotionally exhausted from it all and feeling personally discouraged.
I don't think I'm the only one going through things either. We've just been told by our government that all social gatherings are to be cancelled and that we won't be able to celebrate Christmas with anyone outside of our immediate family. A lot of people I know are incredibly saddened by that, afraid of COVID, and feeling the ongoing tension that this year of pandemic has produced.
So what do we do about that? When you feel low and can't see a clear path forward, how should you act? I don't want to wallow in despair… that never helped anyone. I don't want to ignore everything and escape from life into a hobby… that's not very fair to my wife, my kids, or my church family who all count on me. So where does that leave me?
The Bible is full of regular people who also went through some pretty rough stuff. Today I started dwelling on the story of David from 1 Samuel 30. David and his men are out defending the land from the people who are regularly attacking it and they return home to find that, while they were gone, their city was burned to the ground and all of their wives, their children, and their possessions were taken away. It says, "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." (1 Sam 30:6, italics mine)
When David was faced with a brutal situation, his life literally being in danger from the people he is leading, he strengthened himself in the Lord. He didn't try and deal with it himself, he went to God. God is the source of our strength. God is the source of our peace. God loves you unconditionally and unreservedly. Whatever you're going through, God cares. God will help you through.
There's something incredibly powerful in worshipping and praising God in the middle of an awful situation. When you remember in the middle of suffering that He is still God, He is still all powerful, He hasn't fallen off of His throne, you end up proclaiming His goodness even when you're not seeing any of that goodness around you. It's a powerful faith statement. It's a declaration of the character of God when it costs you something. That's pure worship.
David then inquired to God what he should do, pursued his foes, and rescued all of their wives, children, and possessions. David brought about a great victory out of hearing the direction of God in the middle of a really low time. When you follow God in the midst of your bad situation, you are empowered to bring breakthrough to whatever you're going through. God rescued David's people and led them to victory in direct response to David seeking after Him and following what God had said.
I'm not saying that everything will magically be better, all your problems will go away, simply from going to God. It's when we go to God in that low place, in a place of humility, that we can be formed in the inner person and sent off with purpose. You see, sometimes we created our own mess. Sometimes the mess just happens to us. Sometimes it's a bit of both. No matter what, humility helps you to see what is going on clearly, what your part is and how to approach things. Humility helps you to care for and understand the other people around you. Humility helps you to see what is actually going on from God's perspective and then act accordingly.
So if you're going through something rough right now, just like I am, remember David. I urge you to go to God, worship Him for all His goodness in humility. Seek Him and ask Him what you should do. No matter what circumstance happens to us, He has not changed. He is still God and He is still able to bring beauty out of ashes and joy out of mourning.