March 25, 2011

When You Cannot

At some point in our Christian walk we will face difficult and trying times; arduous circumstances that leave us feeling drained and weary. For someone who has always been roaring and ready to go I find myself in a place where I am having to say “no” instead of always saying “yes”. This is difficult to do when I am not used to doing so. I like to think that I am in control of everything but deep down I know I am not in control of anything except how I choose to respond to the situation I find myself in.

God is requiring that I go and lie down in green pastures, to sit beside still waters. He has been attempting to tell me that I need to rest in Him. The truth of this hit home this week when a dear friend sent an article about Brook Besor. I cannot recall ever reading this story but I know I must have done. The import of this event never ministered to my soul like it does today.

1 Sam 30:9-10 NKJV
So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, where those stayed who were left behind. But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.
David and his men had just returned from a fierce battle with the Philistines and the long march back from the front line had left them weary and worn. When they arrived home they found that a band of Amalekites had swept down upon their village, looting it and had taken all the women and children hostage. Instead of a welcome home celebration they found their homes burning.

1 Samuel 30:4
Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.
These fatigued and demoralized men strapped their weapons and packed supplies to go, not only back to war, but to rescue their families.  As they reached Besor Brook, 200 of the men were so fatigued that they could not even cross the brook. No strength left to fight. They stayed even though I am sure their heart was breaking and their spirit’s wanted to go.

I feel like one of the 200 men. This is the first time in my Christian walk that I have ever felt like this. I struggle to muster strength even as I grit my teeth mentally telling myself “I can do this”, “I can do this”. But do you know what? After reading about Brook Besor I am realizing that God is telling me "stay by the brook".

It is not easy sitting by the brook watching others go, taking up the places that I have left “vacant”. Then there is the part that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable because I know that I have thought this of others, may God forgive me even as He changes my heart. This attitude is found in:

1 Sam 30:21-25 NKJV
Now David came to the two hundred men who had been so weary that they could not follow David, whom they also had made to stay at the Brook Besor. So they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near the people, he greeted them. Then all …. the men of those who went with David answered and said, "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man's wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart."
These soldiers came back with judgment on the 200 hundred; forgetting that these 200 hundred had fought hard with them against the Philistines but just could not go another step past the Brook of Besor because of their weariness. It is so easy to judge another’s “inactivity” wondering why they keep saying “no” to helping out in some way. Or, thinking that they should “be over it by now” and should “get on with their life”. Let us not judge one another nor cause the wounded to feel even more wounded or those who are weary to feel such guilt.

David, in the wisdom that God gave him, stated:

1 Sam 30:21-25 NKJV "My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike." So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
What struck me about David’s gracious words are those that I have highlighted – in this place of rest beside Brook Besor the men were also guarding the supplies. The lessons I am learning from this story is that surrendering to God’s prompting to rest doesn’t imply a time of spiritual inactivity but He has changed my assignment. Instead of “leading the troops” I can guard them in prayer. So even when others hint, prompt or question I simply surrender the right to do whatever I or anyone else thinks is good and reasonable for my life at this time. Instead I choose to order my life in the way that God desires today, yielded to Him at the still, quiet brook.

By the way, the name “Besor” means “good news. This is God’s good news for me, and maybe for you as well, that it is okay to rest awhile. He fights when you cannot.

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