But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
–1 Samuel 30:6
To overcome bad days, it is not enough to refresh yourself physically; you need to strengthen yourself spiritually. In 1 Kings 19:8, Elijah “arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.” When Elijah got to Mount Horeb, or Sinai, he hid in a cave. God asked him, in essence, “What are you doing in that cave? You’re supposed to be a prophet.” Elijah had a pity party. He complained to God that he had been zealous for Him, yet the people had forsaken God. He protested, “I alone am left” (v. 10).
Look at what happened next: “[God] said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing” (vv. 11-12). When bad days come into our lives, we want God to do something big, don’t we? A miraculous cure for the illness, the immediate return of a prodigal, the overnight breaking of a destructive addiction, the erasure of the financial problems we are suffering. We want God to act dramatically and instantaneously. Sometimes He does that, but that’s not how He usually works. It’s not in the big things. Instead it’s in that still, small voice that God comes to give us the courage to face that illness, the grace to accept that prodigal’s departure from God, and the wisdom to handle the financial difficulty we’re experiencing. That’s how God speaks most often. When the waves are crashing and the winds are howling around us, it is important that we learn how to listen to God’s real but sometimes small voice in the midst of our bad seasons of life. And the way we do that is by strengthening ourselves spiritually.
In 1 Samuel 30, we read about one of the worst days of David’s life. David and his men were residing in Ziklag, and they had gone on a day’s mission, and when they got back home, they found that the Amalekites had burned down all of their houses and taken their wives and their children captive. If that were not bad enough, look at 1 Samuel 30:6: “David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Not only had David lost his family, not only had his house been burned down, but his closest comrades were so angry over the loss they had experienced that they turned against David and wanted to stone him. Now, that’s what I call a bad day. What did David do? Notice that last line: “But David strengthened himself in the Lord.” If you are going to make it through a bad season in life, you have to learn how to strengthen yourself in the Lord so that you can hear the still, small voice of God no matter what circumstances are swirling around you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When Bad Days Come” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.