“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” I Samuel 30:6
We have all been there. Perhaps not on the same scale that David found himself, but we can certainly identify with the emotional difficulty he was in. When David and his men returned to Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had invaded and burned the city and had taken the women and children captive. The people blamed David and “spake of stoning him.” In the midst of it, he needed a boost of encouragement; but there was no place to find it. So he did what we also must learn to do; he “encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
Adversity can be most discouraging. Although we all like to think that we can weather the storms and be strong in times of intense difficulty, we must admit that sometimes it has the effect of getting us down. David was a brave soldier and a faithful servant of God, but our text says that he became “greatly distressed.” He desperately needed some encouragement. Isn’t it wonderful when God sends us encouragement? Perhaps it comes through a friend or family member. Maybe it comes through a timely sermon or a song that lifts our hearts and lightens our burdens. This should be a lesson for us to allow God to use us to encourage those who are going through trials.
But, what if our encouragement does not come through the expected channels? David knew how to encourage himself. Circumstances can certainly deflate us emotionally, especially when it seems that trials and problems are only replaced by other difficulties. How can we encourage ourselves in the Lord? It is good to know that we are not alone in our problems. “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” He knew that the God of the Bible, the true and living God, was his God; and he could turn to Him.
It is also important in times of despair that we rehearse the promises of God through prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation. When our circumstances may seem hopeless, God’s Word, particularly the Psalms, offers hope. We can cast our cares on Him, knowing that He cares for us. No matter how difficult it may be, we are not alone. God is there to walk with us through the valleys, and we can encourage our hearts in the Lord.