1 Samuel 22
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. 2 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.
David was fleeing for his life. Saul wanted to kill him. Yet, he became the leader of 400 men – not 400 influential men of wealth or position to help him out of his bad place. These were men in distress, in debt or dissatisfied with their current circumstances.
When one is in distress or in a hard place, is it natural for him to take on more load – to lead a band of people perhaps in worse condition than he is in? What strength enabled David to help other people when he himself needed help?
It must be his deep relationship with his God – his constant link to open communication about all that is in his heart – his fears, his tears, his triumphs, his defeat, his joy and his praise. All these he poured out to God in his prayers and praises in the psalms.
And it is not a one way street. God constantly sent people to minister and help David. David had the prophets like Nathan and Gad (to rebuke, encourage, direct and guide him). He had friends and allies like Jonathan and these 400 men to accompany him through the journey.
When I am in hard place, is my attention on my own small confined world of concerns? Am I attentive to other people in harder places that God sends to me? Am I aware of God’s presence in each detail of life? Do I hear and heed the still small voice of the Holy Spirit? What am I doing in response to this voice? Staying put in my ‘comfortable’ discomfort? Am I obedient to this call of Jesus?
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 NIV
To deny myself is to get out of the self-focused, selfish indulgence of the flesh. To deny myself is to turn my back and fight against this mortal morally weak body – with its sinful desires and take up the cross of Jesus – the cross that takes on these sins – to crucify these sins and let them reign no more. It’s a one-time thing yet a daily dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome my weak body… to follow Jesus – to be his disciple.
Today, the world around me is suffering, dying, in pain, in grief, anxious, fearful and sad. Am I getting out of my comfort zone to be a comfort to those who are crying? What am I doing to mourn with those who mourn? How do I reflect the suffering Christ who gave his life because he loves and obeys God, the Father? What can I do to be his mouth, his hands and his feet to be his messenger of hope and comfort even when life is not easy?
I keep writing. I persist to share God’s message of hope, peace and love. I tell stories of God’s amazing grace and mercy in my uncomfortable places in life. The greater the pain, the louder the message – God is good. He will never leave me or forsake me. This is my hope and assurance.
Let it be yours too, my friend. Read the Bible. Know Jesus and experience God’s wonderful plan and purpose for you in the uncomfortable places of your life.