Each of us, from time to time, needs to be encouraged.
The flow of life brings to us difficulties, hardships, and even the routine things of life can become at times, wearying. As Christians, we certainly should be watching for times and ways that we can encourage others; but there are those times when there are none to encourage us. Perhaps no one shares our burden or we are not at liberty to share our need. In those times we must know how to encourage ourselves in the Lord. In the worst of adversity, in the loneliest of circumstances, in the hardest of times, we can be encouraged in and by the Lord.
It is in this kind of circumstance that David once found himself: he had been unfairly banished from Israel because of Saul’s jealousy; he had been turned away by the Philistines who were suspicious of his motives; he had been robbed by the Amalekites; and he was being threatened by his own soldiers. What an unenviable series of events! Who could David turn to? Who cared for him? Brokenhearted as he was, how could he find the courage and motivation to go on in the face of this defeat, disappointment, and discouragement? David encouraged himself in the Lord. (I Samuel 30:6)
The word encouraged, according to Strong’s Concordance, means that David fastened himself to and fortified himself with the Lord. Though he was“greatly distressed,” his God was not. David was no stranger to the Word of God. He knew the promises and the power of God. He had been taught them, he had memorized them, he had meditated on them in the night watches on starlit hillsides as he tended his father’s sheep. He knew that nothing was beyond the power of God. He knew that God had the power to deliver, to overcome, and to bring victory even when all seemed lost. What comfort it must have been to remember God parting the Red Sea, God’s victory with Gideon’s three hundred, and even the memory of God guiding the one smooth stone into the head of Goliath. David realized, as he sat there meditating, that this experience and this loss was not beyond the ability of God to redeem, recover, and restore. God is able!
Some will say, “That’s good for David, he was a king; but how does that help us?" What reason do we have to encourage ourselves? God is still the same!
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
God is just as mighty today as in the days of David. God also wants to impact this world as much today as in the time of David. God may not work for us the same miracles he worked for David, but then our need is not the same. Just as David did, we also have experience with God. We have prayed and seen God answer, we have had victory over sin, we have heard His voice and sensed His leading Spirit.
If David had reason to be encouraged, we have even more reason. We have seen and know of greater displays of God’s power than David. Oh sure, David knew of the plagues, the Red Sea, and Goliath; but we know of even greater. We know of the cross and we know of the resurrection. We understand and have experienced God’s love and grace. David trusted what he possessed of the Word of God; we have God’s completed Word. We have every reason to live encouraged, even in the face of what seems to be overwhelming difficulty. Encourage yourself today. God knows where you are, how you got there, and how to deliver you. God is able to help you in all that you need. I love how the songwriter put it:
The chimes of time ring out the news,
Another day is through.
Someone slipped and fell.
Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength,
Your courage to renew.
Do not be disheartened,
For I have news for you.
It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.