By Chris Martin
I was a slow, undersized high school football player. Hidden away on the offensive line, I served as little more than a blocking sled with a pulse. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year, the linebacker I regularly had to block was pushing 350 pounds on the bench press. I was still trying to figure out a grip that would keep the bar from falling on me when I tried half that.
I only played two years of high school football because I decided getting a job was more important than being a tackling dummy. Those two years brought me face-to-face with my own weakness.
Recognizing our weakness is demoralizing, especially when it seems like everyone else is strong. King David, the giant-slaying man that he was, had to reckon with his own weakness, too.
Upon arriving at Ziklag, David and his men are confronted with the tragic kidnapping of their families. 1 Samuel 30:4 says that David and his men wept “until they had no strength left to weep.” Amidst the deepest despair any of the men had ever known, they turned on their leader and considered stoning him. Left with nowhere else to turn, the text says, “David found strength in the LORD his God” (v.6).
David’s hope in the strength of God must be contrasted with Saul’s hope in his own strength. David trusts God for deliverance while Saul trusts only himself. In the strength of God, David finds his deliverance. In his own strength, Saul finds his demise.
When we are confronted with the darkness of our sin-scarred world, even our own friends and family may turn on us. When we feel backed into a corner because of our own failure or inescapable circumstances, we can allow our inadequacy to become our identity and we risk implosion.
This is the reality: we are not strong enough to overcome the brokenness of this world, but our God is. We may be the Body of Christ, but we are weak apart from the Head, who is Christ Jesus Himself.
As we trudge through seasons of life that feel like modern manifestations of the “valley of the shadow of death” David mentions in Psalm 23, we must rely on the guidance of the Good Shepherd. It is the strength of God in which we trust, not our own.
Written by Chris Martin