Defeating Despair

Defeating Despair

But David strengthened [encouraged] himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6).

David and his band of not-so merry men were chased around the countryside by Israel’s wicked King Saul. One day, an enemy people discovered David’s camp, burned it to the ground, and took off with all the women and children. When David and his men returned home, their initial distress turned to anger and threats to kill David. That’s when the Bible adds that David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

So how does one go about doing that? How do we counteract discouragement? Do we wait and expect someone else to make us feel better? That’s what we do a lot of the time. As a child I was tickled to cheer me up. Tickling made me laugh, but it can’t cheer the heart.

Neither does repeating, “time heals all wounds”.  Time may lessen the sting of a wound, but it can’t heal anything. Ask an amputee.

Maybe manning up or looking on the bright side? Little Orphan Annie’s advice that “the sun will come out tomorrow” is a catchy tune, but living in the Pacific Northwest there are many days when the sun doesn’t come out tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that … it just rains harder.

Psalm 42 reveals a secret. Why am I discouraged?  Why so sad?  I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11). Hope settles the disquieted heart and mind.

Hope doesn’t come from crossed-fingers but from the settled certainty of God’s character. Knowing who He is allows us to offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15). He reassures us in His Word that He is faithful and sovereign over our lives and can praise Him.

David encouraged himself by remembering who God is and the result was both he and his men finding the strength to rescue everyone taken captive.


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