By Amanda Farbstein
May 18, 2020
Passages of the day: Click HERE to read today’s passages.
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
I’m not sure who originated the pseudo-biblical quote, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” But he’s wrong. Firstly, the quote assumes God is the one who has sent the hardship. A sentiment standing on shaky biblical ground. And secondly, life for many is a series of obstacles too large to handle.
David was being hunted by King Saul and his army. And while we see David persist in prayer and in evading attack, his tale of overcoming is not one of purely individual triumph. Four hundred men in distress gathered to him, followed, and fought alongside him. David was surrounded by loyal friends who could relate to him because they too were in crisis.
Not only did he have a community, he had a priceless best friend. Jonathan is the one who tells David not to be afraid and who assures him of what God had promised. Best friends are often the unsung heroes of our stories, aren’t they?
The fight against illness, despair, heartbreak, or poverty can be merciless and leave us bone-tired in body and soul. And while persistence in seeking God and obeying Him is still our calling throughout battle, our survival is also through relationships.
Who are your loyal friends? Who are those that can understand or listen such that you feel known? Who speaks the truth about your life and future that you know to be true, but feel frail to believe? These friends are our God-given war buddies. These friends are not crutches or cop-outs for having failed as an individual. Friends are both our means of perseverance and our end. On the other side of the battle is still friendship, but where "striving has ceased". In Hamlet, Shakespeare says to “grapple unto your soul with hoops of steel” a tried and true friend. That is a quote I can get behind.
And Jonathan…strengthened [David’s] hand in God.
— 1 Samuel 23:16
Prayer to start with: Dear Lord, help us see the people You have placed in our lives that we are to mutually encourage and fight alongside. Use us to strengthen one another’s hand in You. Give us the courage to receive and the boldness to serve.