Beauty for Ashes – Trusting God Through Tough Situations

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I remember once saying to a friend of mine, “O, it looks like you have a cold.”  To which he replied, “Don’t put that on me, I am not claiming it.”  Well, seeing my friend standing before me with tissues stuffed into his nostrils, a blanket wrapped around his body, and sweat pouring from his forehead prompted me to reply, “You don’t have to claim it, it has claimed you.”

We are not called to play games with reality.  Our believing that pain, sickness, suffering, poverty, war, death (and etc) are not real will not make them go away.  David was a man who passionately pursued intimacy with God (Acts 13:22).  God loved David immensely, and God blessed David tremendously with undeserved favor (or grace – see 2 Sam. 7:18).  However, God’s love for David, and his grace toward David, did not shield David from experiencing some of the good, the bad and the ugly side of life; as taking a walk through Davids personal history will demonstrate.

God anointed David to be Israel’s next king, which prompted Saul to try to kill him.  When Saul laid a trap to catch David in his home and kill him, he escaped and fled to Ramah seeking the protection of Samuel the prophet (1 Samuel 19:11-17).  When Saul pursued David to Ramah, David ran to his friend Johnathan, Saul’s son, and asked him “What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life (2 Samuel 20:1)

Neither Samuel nor Johnathan could protect David from Saul (Saul even tried to kill his son Johnathan for helping him), therefore he fled again to the village of Nob where the priest who dwelt there helped David by giving him food and the weapons that David had taken from the giant Goliath.  When Saul found out that the priest of Nob helped David, he ordered their death; 85 men were killed along with their wives and their children (2 Samuel 22:18-19).

Samuel, Johnathan, nor the priest of Nob were able to shield David from Saul’s wrath, so he left Nob and fled to Achish where he sought the protection of the Philistines (talk about being humbled and humiliated).  What David found in Achish was not protection but fear.  In Achish, David experienced what is proverbially called, “jumping from the skillet into the fire” (see 2 Samuel 21).  To get out of Achish, David pretends to be crazy, and then flees to the cave of Adullan, where “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.”  Remember: David was anointed by God to be the next king.  What a kingdom (a cave), and what subjects (the dregs of life)!

Did David “claim” all of the pain, suffering, and tragedy that followed him?  Absolutely not.  What we learn from reading the testimony of this man of God is that suffering, persecution, tribulation, distress, and pain more often than not come upon us at no fault of our own; these things are products of sin, and characteristics of a fallen world.

God has promised to someday give us “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells”.  He may fulfill this promise today, or He may chose to fulfill it a million days from today.  However, until this day comes God has promised to never leave nor forsake His children.  And until that day comes, God will use life’s painful situations to teach us aspects of His amazing, sustaining grace, and His deep, deep love that can only be learned as we walk with Him “Through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23)

Finding himself held up in the cave of Adullam was probably one of the lowest points of David’s life. Nevertheless, in the cave, in the midst of tremendous pain and suffering, God took David’s relationship with Himself to a deeper level, and the Holy Spirit used David to pen one of the Bible’s great Psalms:

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.
2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.
4 My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.
6 They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me; Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. Selah
7 ¶ My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.
10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, And Your truth unto the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.

Life can be very hard.  The pain and suffering of life are real forces that each of us will have to face from time to time.  And although our faith in God will not give us carte blanche to escape life challenges, it does give us a “living hope”. Therefore, as Robert Ketchem once said, “God is too kind to do me wrong, and too wise to make a mistake.”  Furthermore, our faith assures us that in the light of eternity, all things will work together for our good, for we reckon that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

{Dedicated to the life of Mia and the memory Steve G.  Steve passed into eternity yesterday from the consequences of serving his country during the Gulf War.  Mia is Steve’s precious wife.  Steve was a beloved brother in Christ, a mentor, and a faithful Christian friend.  Sister Mia is one of the most devoted Christian women that I have ever met.  Mia, we love you in the Lord, and we are praying for you and your family.  May your life continue to be a reflection of the amazing grace of God, and the deep love of Jesus.  God will comfort you at this time of loss, and He Himself will someday wipe the tears from your eyes}

 

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Published by

E. Wohner

By God's amazing grace, I have served in the ministry for over 22 years; 17 of which were as a cross-cultural missionary in New York City, and five years as a local church pastor. Currently, I work for Prudential as a financial professional associate. The only things that I can say about myself are that I love God, I love people, I love living my faith, and I love being of service to others helping them reach their full potential.

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