The ‘buts’ in the Bible are significant, showing us the difference God makes in any situation. After David has been sent home to Ziklag by Achish, he arrives to find yet another problem: in his absence, the Amalekites had raided Ziklag, carrying off all the women and children who had been left behind. (1 Sam 30:1-6) David now is faced with yet another problem, and this time, it is made worse by the bitterness and anger in his own men. ‘David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.’ (1 Samuel 30:6) If David thought things had been bad when the Philistine leaders refused to let him join them in battle, this was infinitely worse.

What do we do when situations go from bad to worse, when no matter what we do, things just don’t get better? David shows us how to deal with despair: ‘But David found strength in the Lord his God.’ (1 Sam 30:6) This was a turning point for David. He learned to encourage himself in the Lord; he learned to take from God’s strength and make it his own. Ultimately, we aren’t strong enough to deal with life on our own. We need help.

David sought God (1 Sam 30:7-8), asking His advice, seeking His will. Gone is his arrogance; gone the assumption that whatever solutions he can come up with (such as fleeing to Gath) will solve the problems. He learns that the only way back to God is through repentance and that we must seek God’s face with all our hearts (see Ps 27:8-9, Ps 63:1, Jer 29:13.) Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock (Matt 7:7-8), reminding us of the need for persistence and faith as we seek God, reminding us that our priority must be God. (Matt 6:33) The good news is that when we seek God with all our hearts, we will find Him (Deut 4:29). This desperate situation was turned into victory for David because he turned to God and relied on him (see 2 Cor 1:8-9) We have a miracle-working God who is in control even when our lives feel like they have fallen apart. When we seek Him and exchange His strength for ours, we will know victory like David.