How often do we find ourselves in dire situations that seem to be beyond our ability to handle? While some people are privileged to have a support system that is ready to do anything to help, there is a group of people that suffer silently alone. They have no family, no church, no one to call on for help. Some go into seclusion and put their lives on hold, while others end up committing suicide. Some get overwhelmed and end up in mental institutions. What do you do when you are faced with a dire situation and you have no one to call for prayer or help? I was in that predicament for six years, from 2013 to 2019. I was stripped off every connection that I would run to for spiritual and emotional support. I was forced into a tight crossroad, I had to learn to look up to heaven, to find strength from my creator. In the following paragraphs, I will share strategies I learned from the life of King David, on the Art of Encouraging Oneself in the Lord.
During my wilderness experience, I devoured the bible from cover to cover. I found strength and encouragement in studying the bible, especially, 1 Samuel 30: 1- 19. Shortly after killing the giant Goliath of Gath, David found himself in a dire situation. He had to flee from his country because King Saul wanted to kill him. For years, David wondered from cave to cave, from wilderness to wilderness. Finally, he found refuge and safety in the land of Israel’s greatest enemies, the Philistines. Achish, king of Gath, allowed him and his men to dwell in one of his territories, at Ziklag.
In 1 Samuel 28:1-2 and 29: 3-7, the Philistines gathered to fight against Israel. King Achish asked David and his men to go with him to battle. However, the Princes of the Philistines raised concern about the possibility of David and his men turning on them on the battlefield. So, they asked Achish to send them back to the territory he had assigned them, at Ziklag. When David and his men got back to camp, they found the Amalekites had invaded the region, burned down Ziklag, and took all the women and children and livestock. 1 Samuel 30: 4 says, “David and his men were overcome with grief and wept until they had no more power to weep.” As if that was not enough, the men shifted blame on David and wanted to stone him (Vs.6). But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God (vs. 6b). Then he asked Abiathar, the priest to bring the ephod so he could inquire of the LORD. 1 Samuel 30: 8 says, “David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” David was able to locate the Amalekites, attacked them, and recovered all that was stolen, including his two wives. David did not just wake up one morning knowing how to encourage himself in the LORD. This is an art he learned in his youth when he looked after his father’s sheep. He built a deep relationship with the Lord when he was alone watching the sheep. He composed and sang love songs to God. The book of Psalms is a compilation of some of the conversations David had with the LORD when he was alone. As he pursued intimacy with the LORD, he stepped into a prophetic realm in which he forecast future events, e.g., He foresaw the death of Christ and prophesied that the LORD would raise Him up. Psalm 16:10, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” He absolutely trusted the LORD to protect him from the assaults of his enemies. He never went into battle without inquiring of the LORD. That is why he never lost a battle. How do we apply these strategies into our lives?
First, we need to cultivate an intimate relationship with Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We do this by studying the word of God daily, worshipping the LORD, talking to Him in prayer, listening to Him, and allowing Him to guide us. We also cultivate a relationship with God by putting Him first in everything we do. And living a lifestyle that is pleasing and acceptable to Him. Second, we need to trust the LORD, and surrender our lives to Him. In so doing, we align ourselves with Him and seek Him daily for wisdom and direction on how to handle each situation we face. We can build inner strength from others as well. We can read books or listen to teachings on situations we are facing, and find strength and wisdom on how to overcome. The bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). There is a saying that, “In time of peace, prepare for war” (Niccolo Machiavelli). Consistency, endurance, and perseverance are necessary in order to build oneself to a level where you can encourage yourself in the LORD. When you do all this you build a reserve of faith and anointing that you can draw from in times of need.
I look up to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. He is the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalms 121:1-2)