Four Things to Practice When Life is Tough
Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire,
(2) and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. (3) So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. (4) Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (5) And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. (6) Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
(1 Samuel 30:1-6 NKJV)
We all have those days when it seems as though we will never succeed. Struggle after struggle leaves us depleted of energy. Here are some suggestions that will help us during challenging days.
In this incident in David’s life, the enemy came and destroyed the city where they lived. When David and his men returned home, he found the whole city burned to the ground. And the wives and children of he and his men were missing, having been taken captive by the enemy army.
They wept until they had no more tears, and David’s men were so upset that they thought of stoning him! Now that’s a pretty desperate situation. Instead of giving in to the situation and walking away defeated, this passage reveals that David encouraged himself in the Lord! And the end of the story is that David and his men found the enemy army, defeated them, and rescued their wives and children without a single one being harmed!
Had David remained discouraged, they may not have recovered their families safely. Attitude when faced with a crisis determines the outcome. When the stakes are down, and we feel discouragement taking hold,we can follow David’s example and and encourage ourselves in the Lord. Here are several suggestions.
First of all, watch your mouth! It can really get you into some deep trouble. Don’t speak unless you can talk in faith. Doubt thoughts will die unborn as long as you don’t give life to them with your words.
Secondly, remind yourself of the promises of God. God says to the believer in Psalm 91:14-15: Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. God promises in Psalm 34:19: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Thirdly, consciously remember the times that the Lord had answered prayer and delivered you from difficult situations in the past. In Psalm 42, David reminded himself of what God had done in his past when facing thoughts and feelings of oppression and discouragement.
Lastly, force yourself to praise and worship during difficult times. The sacrifice of praise will allow God to fight the battle for you, will strengthen you, and will chase away doubt, fear, and discouragement.
God hasn’t brought you this far to let you down now. Encourage yourself in the Lord your God by watching your words, reminding yourself of the promises of God, by remembering past answered prayer, and by forcing yourself to praise and worship God!