Are you facing marriage or general life problems that make no sense? And top of it, God seems silent?
Last week I was wrestling with some issues (not marriage related), and the Lord encouraged with a word from 1 Samuel 22: 1 – 3.
Many of you are grappling with weighty issues; I know because you write to me, and today I just want to encourage you. We go through difficult seasons for different reasons but I want to focus on what I learned last week.
I was reading 1 Samuel 22: 1 – 3 NIV
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
A little background to provide context: David is on the run from King Saul, the King of Israel at that time. David was once in high favor with the king after he killed Goliath and helped defeat the Philistine army.
King Saul took the shepherd boy into his home and eventually made him a commander of the army. David thrived and succeeded in everything the king asked him to do. Everyone grew to love David, including the kings son Jonathan, and the kings daughter, Michal, who became his wife.
Unfortunately, David’s success became the sore point in his relationship with Saul; the king became jealous of David’s success and tried to kill him, several times.
In 1 Samuel 2:1-3 David has run away from Saul and found refuge in the cave of Adullam.
Just because you have a promise does not mean you’ll attain it tomorrow.
Earlier in 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed by Prophet Samuel, to be the next leader of Israel, after Saul.
You would think that being chosen by God as the next king would mean an easier path to the throne, right. However instead of a throne, David is huddling in a cave, on the run from a murderous king.
I felt like I was on the run last week. And maybe you are feeling the same way too. We have this great promise from God, this great expectation. We’ve carried it for years, even experienced remarkable progress some times.
But today we are in a cave. A hard, confusing, confounding season. And we are asking questions.
“Why am I going through this?” “If God is with me, why doesn’t anything make sense anymore?” “Why does it seem like the more I believe God, the more pursue Him, the more trouble I attract?” “Why is my marriage suffering yet we’ve done everything by the good Book? Why doesn’t God care that I am hurting?”
There are more whys in your life than you can write down. And not a single answer.
Last week it came together for me (yet again); the reason we struggle with “hard seasons” is that we believe God’s promise today means fulfillment tomorrow. Or at least, a place in the less arduous path.
We fully expect to avoid difficulties and challenges because we did everything by the book or because God gave us a particular word concerning our future.
When I was wrestling with my questions, God told me “trouble can birth greater things.” He went on to explain;
Other people are facing the same things I face today. They need encouragers; other people linking hands and pointing them in the direction of the Fulfill-er of all promises.
It is not my (or your) victory parade that attracts weary people; it is my trouble.
The guys that went up to meet David did not go because the ex-commander was having a good old time in a cave. David was not having a good time; he was alone, stripped of everything, desperate.
Yet the Bible says “when his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him…”
When we walk through hard seasons, most of us are not trying to be “an example” or “Titus 2 women” to others; we simply want our problems to end! I don’t think David was trying to rally anyone around him. He was just trying to survive.
And it is nothing for God to take you from promise to fulfillment.
It was in God’s power to put David on the throne immediately. You and I have many testimonies of almost immediate answers to our prayer.
However, when God plans to do a bigger thing in us or through us, He takes the longer route. The bigger the glory, the greater the obstacles to overcome.
Last week, God reminded me that (one of) the reasons our trouble seems unending is because we erroneously filter life through the “me” lens. We think about ourselves; how everything connects (or does not connect) to “me”.
All the while God has a higher purpose at play.
I cannot understand my journey or accept my lot in life, when I look at it, purely in the context of “me.”
I have to regard my circumstances through God’s eyes. And Gods perspective always includes others.
This online ministry was birthed out of ‘nothing’ and desperation, four years ago. When we moved to the United States, the ground shifted beneath me. God was already doing something new in my life before we moved but it felt like He ramped it up once we got here.
I was desperate to do His will, desirous to launch into our calling and vision. I had the promise (our vision) but had no idea where or how to start.
Common sense pointed to hustling it out in the marketplace but God asked me to stay at home, seek His face and focus on writing. I had all the excuses “exactly how is that going to make us money because, (in case, you haven’t noticed) we need to start a life here”. And “I am not a good writer.”
In response, God told me “trust me.” Isn’t it frustrating when you have a thousand questions, and God’s answer to every single one is “trust me”?
Well, that is what you and I need to do today; trust God.
Because while we have a glimpse of the future, we have no idea how it looks like in full. We see “me” – our portion, our pain, our discomfort, our wait – but we don’t see everything.
David may have been ran out of the palace but his kingly calling and purpose wasn’t.
When God decides to do something in you or through you, nothing can stop it. You can be hiding in a cave – alone, desperate and misunderstood – and God will birth a movement.
Four hundred guys came to David in one of the lowest moments of his life. The promise of God was still active, even when it didn’t seem like it was.
Dear early wed wife, trying to figure out your place in marriage.
You got a promise and a ring, but marriage has turned out to be no palace. Other unions are breaking up left right and center, and you are afraid yours is next.
Remember this; God still has a plan.
Your marriage is not their marriage. You keep your focus on God and only concern yourself with Him. I am not saying things will be easy, but as you walk with God, something bigger will be birthed out of your trouble.
It is not always about you, about what your mind can comprehend. Some things are much larger than us.
Sometimes we are the people, the couple, the wife that will break through challenges that have dogged our families for generations because no one had the wisdom, revelation or ability to break through earlier.
You are the person, the wife that God is looking at to trust and pray and persevere so your “children” (including everyone that is looking up to you) doesn’t have to fight the same battles.
Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-34
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
It might feel like you are alone but you are not. God sent David his four hundred. Peter had Jesus interceding for his faith. You have the Spirit of God living inside you.
Your cave is not bigger than your God. Right here in the cave is where great things are born; a greater brokenness, deeper understanding, profound awareness and utter reliance on God.
And out of the depth of your relationship with God, after “you have turned back” you are then able to “strengthen your brothers.”
Sometimes we don’t have answers, or receive the peace and comfort we desperately need because we are asking the wrong questions.
Instead of asking “why me”, ask God to help you see things the way He does. Then you will be able to ask the right questions, take the right course of action and see His purpose come to pass. His way, not your way.
Ponder – How will you pursue God in spite of questions and difficulties? What steps is God asking you to take?
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