Editor’s Note: AMI Quiet Times from April 13-19 are written by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry LA.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 30:6 (ESV)
And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
The showdown between Israel and the Philistines would have to take place without David fighting alongside the Philistines. The Philistine lords sent David and his men back to Ziklag, where upon their return, they discover a terrible tragedy. We’re told the Amalekites had invaded Ziklag while the men were gone; the city was burned to the ground, and everything of value was taken, including the women and children who would likely be sold as slaves.
Consider the utter dismay David and his men must have felt when they came over the hill, expecting their families to come out to greet them, but instead, seeing smoldering ashes with nobody left. We never know when misfortune will come home to us. It can come in the shape of a stray bullet, an incurable disease, or some tragic accident that we just can’t plan for. Since we live in a broken world, there will always be some pain and suffering.
David and his men cried until they could cry no more. But in the midst of that pain and anger, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” David did not always do what was right, but when push came to shove, David knew where to turn to: he turned to the Lord. He encouraged himself in the Lord his God!
I am reminded of two things: First, when all seems lost, all is not necessarily lost; and second, when all seems lost and I don’t know where to turn to, I need to inquire of God. David sought the wisdom of God, and after receiving his counsel from the High Priest, David pursued the Amalekites, and the Lord provided the victory.
In life, there will be pain and suffering—some being bigger tragedies than others. The right way of handling tragedy will not only offer us comfort, but also the guidance that we need. Handling tragedy without God leads to bitterness, failure, and perhaps, more tragedy. We find that as David handled this tragedy wisely, he experienced one of his great tragedies turn to triumph.
Prayer: Dear God, help me never to be too discouraged to seek You out, for You are able to comfort and guide me in the midst of my pain. May I grow through all aspects of life, but especially when pain and suffering come for me. May I confess, along with the Apostle Paul, “your grace is sufficient for me, for your power is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Bible Reading for Today: Lamentations 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 3:1-6
 O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
 Many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.
 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
 I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.
 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Questions to Consider
- David writes this Psalm in reflection to the grief that his son Absalom is causing him. How can we tell that David is desperate in this Psalm?
- In spite of his pain, what enables David to sleep peacefully at night?
- What serves to give you confidence in the Lord today?
- We see in the opening lines David’s desperate situation with its repetition of the word many.
- David calls to mind the many ways in which God has cared for him in the past, and how he was able in faith to sleep peacefully in the face of danger. These past experiences build his confidence for the present, enabling him to walk by faith and not by sight.
- Personal response.
Before going to bed, reflect on this: “The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God.” –Joni Eareckson Tada. So, how was your day?