As I wrote in my last post, my family was hit with a tremendous blow a few weeks ago. Finding out that my mom had a brain tumor, followed by brain surgery, followed by a cancer diagnosis…all in a week. The first day, this verse came to me, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19b)
And that’s how this whole thing felt to me, like a flood. An overwhelming flood.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit did raise His standard against the enemy.
And the way he did it was by helping me recall some awesome preaching I’d heard from my pastor, Jeff Perry, at St. Louis Family Church. Pastor Jeff had preached on the Old Testament story of David at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30) for quite some time last year (I think).
Anyway, the story goes like this: David and his warrior-men returned to Ziklag, where their families and possessions were. But the enemy had come and burned all their dwellings and stolen their families and possessions. The men were so distraught that they cried until they had no more tears. David was right with them in their sorrow. Then the men began to turn on him, blaming him for this great misfortune and even talking of stoning David. But David strengthened himself in the Lord.
Then he went on to put on the ephod and seek the Lord for direction on what to do about this terrible tragedy. The Lord told him to go after the enemy and he would succeed. David did what the Lord told him, and he recovered everything the enemy had taken. Plus, he got a bonus: the plunder from the Lord’s enemies.
You can see why remembering this sermon and this Bible story helped me in my time of distress. I was exhausted. I was disheartened. I was weak. I was scared.
But I remembered that I should put on the garment of praise and strengthen myself in the Lord.
So I did. Every morning, I’d drag myself out of bed. Often the tears would begin flowing as I was waking up. But I’d get in the shower. And as my tears mingled with the warm streams of water, I’d sing to the Lord. Every day a new song would come to my remembrance.
And I would sing:
“I am the Lord your healer…”
“This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it”
“I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship you, oh my soul, rejoice”
Sometimes my voice would break. It was hard to sing praises when I felt so downtrodden, so attacked. I understood the meaning of the sacrifice of praise.
But the longer I sang, the stronger my voice became. Strength infused my body. By the time I got out, I knew that I had followed in the path of David. I had found the strength that I needed in the Lord.
An awesome follow-up to this story is that now my mom is daily strengthening herself in the Lord. I know she is finding Jesus to be just as incredible as I have.