Conntecting the Dots

What to do When Your World Caves In

I’ve spoken at two women’s retreats this month, and oh, the stories I hear. Obviously, for confidentiality’s sake, I can’t go into detail about them. But I can say that women carry huge burdens….

Some are battling cancer or watching their loved ones fight the disease. Others tell of their husband’s unfaithfulness or of them leaving the marriage completely in pursuit of other women. Some are struggling with not being able to conceive, while others are angry with God because He’s planted them in a place or position where they would rather not be. The stories go on and on. My heart hurts for each woman, especially those mired in resentment. Thankfully they are few, for the majority want to move forward and experience God’s rest and blessing. Trouble is, many times they’re in basic survival mode and simply don’t know what steps to take. If that’s your position, or if you know someone who’s there, here are a few strategies based on the life of David.

David’s story is found in 1 Samuel 29 and 30. He was heading into battle with the Philistine army when several army commanders expressed their disapproval of his presence. They felt he was a risk; he might betray them during battle and defeat them rather than the enemy. King Achish disagreed but he wanted to appease the commanders, so he told David to take his men and return home. David obeyed. Upon his arrival at Ziklag, he found the city burned and plundered. All the women and children, including his two wives, had been kidnapped.

Imagine the scene. David and his men had traveled for three days without food or water. They were exhausted, and now they were faced with their loss. Scripture says they wept until they could weep no more. As if that weren’t enough, David’s life was now in danger because his men blamed him for the disaster and threatened to stone him. Things couldn’t have looked more bleak. How did he respond in the face of a terrible, no-good, very bad situation?

 * David found strength in the LORD his God (30:6). When our world caves in, we, too, can find strength in the Lord. That means focusing on God’s promises and presence rather than on the difficulties we face. That often requires a sheer act of our will, a deliberate turning of our attention to Him rather than to the what-ifs and our discouraging or frightening circumstances.

 * David prays (v. 8). What a great example! In the midst of emotionally charged situations, we sometimes say or do things we later regret. We react based on impulse and get ourselves into deeper trouble. We can avoid such mistakes by taking a moment to pray for God’s direction.

* David perseveres (v. 10). One third of his army was too exhausted to chase the enemy so they stayed behind while David led the remaining soldiers into battle. The men were physically and emotionally spent but they pressed on knowing that God had promised victory.

David’s world caved in but he found hope. The same can be true for you. Do as David did – find strength  in the Lord, pray, and persevere. And you, too, will not only survive, but thrive.

What practical strategies can you share with others who are experiencing crisis today?

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