Daily Thought - A Momentary Lapse Of Joy

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. – 1Samuel 30: 6 (KJV)

    Can we speak honestly about our human condition even though we are Christians? Can we admit to our mortal frailties or do we have to play the strong Christian games that so many do. Boastful on the outside but suffering internally. Can we admit to being lonely; of feeling like we have no one in this life at times? Can we admit to being scared in a world that is admittedly frightening at times? Can we admit to being hurt by people, life, or circumstances? Christianity is not the denial of feelings but about learning how to make them obedient to Christ. Do you think David wasn’t scared when he walked out with a slingshot against a 10 foot giant? Do you think Joseph wasn’t worried at times if he was ever getting out of prison during the 10 plus years he sat there for a crime he never committed? Do you think the three Hebrew boys weren’t a little bit doubtful as they were being led towards the fiery furnace? C’mon now – they were human too! Yes they had great faith in God but they also must have had great feelings as mortals. The sooner we accept that it is not faux strength God is looking for but genuine weakness, the better off we will be.

    I called this piece a momentary lapse of joy because I know this is what we all face sometimes. Sometimes even on the mountaintop but most certainly in the valley. We all face those moments where we think we have had just about as much as we can take. Maybe we put a good face on at church – can’t let the brethren see our true selves! But then we get back home and that joy we just sang songs about in church doesn’t feel like it is lingering around us too much. We still love God. We still believe in God. We just are having a momentary lapse. Much like Elijah after the great success on Mount Carmel; when he ran away from Jezebel. God asks him why he is hiding in a cave and his answer was:

    Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” – 1Kings 19: 10 (NLT)

    Raise you hands if you can relate to Elijah here! There are times we feel like throwing in the towel. Earlier in the chapter he actually asked God to take his life, saying he had enough. Here we see his great level of self pity – which we all go through too. Oh Lord, no one works as hard in their ministry then me! Everyone is apostate Lord, am I the only one serving you? Everything is coming against me Lord and all I am trying to do is serve You! Nothing like an old fashioned dose of self pity to drag your spirit down.

    David faced an opportunity to wallow in self pity when we find him in our key verse today. He and his fighting men return to Ziklag only to find that the Amalekites had raided it in their absence. They burned it to the ground and carried off all of the women and children. Imagine coming back home and finding all your wives and kids have been taken captive? Needless to say the men were not pleased and the object of their derision became their leader – David. They actually were considering stoning him to death! But this one small verse contains one very large secret. What we need to do when we find ourselves in these momentary lapses of joy. We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord our God!

    Great preacher what does that mean? I think there are two answers to this. First of all, it means we need to not be looking at the world, the situations we face, and things we cannot control. I believe that the root of most frustration and disappointment for us is that we try so desperately to control what God has not given us control of and refuse to accept responsibility for what He has. The question today is – what are you encouraging yourself in? There is no encouragement at the bottom of a medication bottle. There is no encouragement in the nightclub. There is no encouragement in any of the solutions this world wants to offer you to “feel better” about your situations. There may be the illusion of encouragement which only serves to feed our disappointments. David could have tried reasoning with his men. He could have run away. He could have fought them. Instead he encouraged himself in the Lord his God. So when we find ourselves facing the lapse, we need first to look at how we are trying to encourage ourselves. Move away from the world and towards the only one who can solve anything in our lives – God.

    Secondly, I think it addresses our faith. God has made promises to us beloved and quite frankly we can have two major problems when it comes to them. We either do not correctly understand those promises or we simply do not believe them in our lives. Not understanding them comes from Scriptural illiteracy. If the only place we hear the Word of God is in church for 45 minutes a week then it is no surprise that we do not have a grasp of what God has promised us. A dusty Bible leads to a murky faith. The second possibility is that we doubt those promises in our lives and in our current situations. Sometimes being saved longer hurts in that the promises become words to us. Things that we claim to know but cannot seem to draw any power from. The Word of God is so powerful in our lives if it is active through faith. Encouraging ourselves is a process of reminding ourselves what God has spoken in our lives. That we are only walking through the valley. That God is working all things out for our good. That greater is He that is me then he that is in the world. That God has a future laid out for me with works assigned before the foundations of this world. There is a limitless supply of promises but we must believe them – especially at our most desperate moments. Even at our greatest lapses in joy. You see beloved if your joy is rooted in anything in this world then it is fleeting and can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. If your joy is rooted in the promises of God however – they never change and cannot be taken from you unless you willingly give them up.

    David encouraged himself and Scripture tells us that the next thing he did was ask God if he should pursue the Amalekites. That is what encouraging ourselves in the Lord will do. It will bring us back into close communication with God where we can hear His counsel in our lapse; in our situations. So often all we see is our problems, all we feel is our pain, and all we forget is our God. But when we push the problems and the feelings aside and seek the face of our God; He will answer. For those who may feel like they are dealing with a momentary lapse of joy today in their lives I will leave you with the answer God gave David that day and the answer He has for us as well:

    You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” – 1Samuel 30: 7b (NLT)

    Praise the name of the Lord!

    Rev. Anthony

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