At times it is not how we start, or rather what we start with that is important but what we end with. The things that will change our lives are often those things that have withstood every test. The spoils of war and everything that remains.
Over the past couple of years I have lost much.
It has been a very bitter pill to swallow. Here I am doing my human best to follow God and yet time and time again I face a tragedy.
No-matter how much time goes by and no-matter how much I change for the good or the bad, everything I’ve held has proven to be like sand in my hands. It all easily slips away. The only thing adamant to go is my relationship with God. Believe me, I’ve tried to run but He’s always around.
I believe I am not the only one who has suffered loss. We all lose things. Some things we can live without, some things we feel like we’d die without.
Death has taken very important people from me, the complexities of life have taken relationships I treasured and the list goes on. Life is so unpredictable. Hold on to what you have while it remains but do not hold on too tightly because we’re all meant to be ready for loss when it comes.
But, this isn’t a gloomy article, here’s hope.
When Tragedy Strikes
For the most part tragedy doesn’t tell you when its coming. It’s like a thief in the night. One moment everything is peachy and the next your world is falling apart.
This is exactly what happened to David and his people. They arrived home one day and everything was in flames!
“So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.”- 1 Samuel 30:3
I don’t know if you can relate but if you just try to imagine what this must have felt like you’d quickly realize that it was too much to bare.
Your home is burned. Your wives and children are gone. All your valuables stolen.
It makes sense then when you read that David and the people with him, “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep” (1Samuel 30:4).
When was the last time you sorrowed this deeply? What had happened?
I really sympathize with David. He was the leader of these people so the blame fell mostly on him. He had also lost much but emotions were high and the people were contemplating stoning the man.
Have you ever experience this kind of burden? How when something tragic happens, all eyes are on you? Do you ever feel that you’ve lost what you’ve lost because of something you did or because God is mad at you?
What about this; you’ve been doing your best to be God’s good child but then all this drama is still happening.
Listen, it happens to the best of us. Calamity will fall on the good and on the bad alike. I have been the “good boy” and the “bad boy” and calamity has fallen on me. Actually, I’ve had more drama in my “good days” than in my bad.
God’s mercy! It is such a mystery isn’t it? He refines me when I feel like I’m at my best and goes easy on me when I am at my worst.
Anyway, we were talking about David right?
So the Bible the records this:
“… But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”- 1 Samuel 30:6
That is all we need to do sometimes, strengthen ourselves in the Lord. When emotions are high or when you’ve just run out of steam, turn to a strength greater than you. These are often the times when we display our greatest virtues for, “when we are weak, He is strong”(2 Corinthians 12:9).
Everything That Remains
I’m currently reading a book by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus called “Everything That Remains. These are the same dudes who wrote the book “Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life“.
Their books talk a lot about minimalism. This is why they are known worldwide as “The Minimalists“.
In the book “Everything That Remains”, Joshua gives us somewhat of an autobiography of his life. Long story short, he had a lot of stuff and he lost a lot of stuff and now he is content with everything that remained. Some stuff was taken from him and some stuff he had to let go. Ryan, in his own way, experienced the same.
Again, they lost stuff through death, divorce, debt and all that other stuff we all go through.
But how does this all tie to David and the other peeps? Well, lets get back into it.
After strengthening himself in the Lord, David asks God if he should go and and hunt down the Amalekites (the people who burnt his home and took everything). God gave him the green light and tells him that he will not only catch up with them and defeat them but he would recover all.
Just as an aside: we ought to consult God when we want to go about recovering things that we’ve lost. Some things are meant to stay lost. Until and if God gives you clear instruction, do yourself a favor and keep in the past what is in the past.
So David and his men set off on their mission. A couple of things happen on the way (read the chapter for yourself) and they finally catch up with the Amalekites and defeat them. They recover all that was taken from them and all the spoil that the Amalekites had.
On the way God provided a way, in the form on an Egyptian, for them to find their enemies. That single man was crucial in the success of their mission and God will come through in that way sometimes. The key to your success will be in the hands of someone else.
Maybe this is to keep us humble or God is trying to work on strengthening your other virtues along the way. I don’t know.
David and his people had lost much. I mean their homes were still burnt and maybe some of the spoil that was stolen was used, but after they found their enemies, the things that remained were so much better than what they first had.
All that remained was what was meant to be in their lives. They got back their wives and kids and more spoil than they could keep for themselves. They literally went around giving other tribes some of their spoil (1 Samuel 30:26-30).
All Is Well That Ends Well
Do I know what you’ve been through or what you are going through? No. I can only speak for myself and maybe just a little bit for God.
His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) but all things work together for the good for those He loves (Romans 8:29). Most of the time He works in very weird ways but whatever the method He chooses it works for the good.
There are some things in our lives that we are holding on to so tightly that God has to cause some disturbance so that we can let them go. Most of these things are bad for us.
Sometimes what we need to let go of is people. Relationships. Jobs. Goals. Desires. Hobbies. It can be anything. God will see it. God will interfere.
At times it is not how we start, or rather what we start with that is important but what we end with.
The things that will change our lives are often those things that have withstood every test.
The spoils of war and everything that remains.
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