March 8, 2013 - On the Outskirts
By William E. Richardson
"And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts" (2 Samuel 15:17, NKJV).
What a desperate moment! Having fled the palace, King David stood on the outskirts of the city, catching a glimpse of what he'd lost. His own son, Absalom, had usurped the throne. David's "normal" life had been shattered. Exchanged for sorrow. David didn't know what the next day held, nor what the next hour would bring.
Similar scenarios of loss occur daily. Even as Christians, we sometimes stand on the outskirts, reeling from the breath having just been knocked out of us.
Such changes can come without warning. The financial standing you took for granted suddenly vanished. The health you were used to failed. The family relationships you valued fractured.
What should you expect when your normal life abruptly falls apart, leaving you standing on the outskirts? God is ready to help you in the same ways He helped David.
God sent David's friends. They brought him encouragement. He benefited from the physical presence of some and the prayers of others. When you're on the outskirts, God can send friends who will sit with you, friends who will listen, and friends who will pray.
God welcomed David's honest feelings. It's believed David wrote Psalm 55 during this difficult time in his life. He let his feelings flow: "I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily" (verse 2); "My heart is severely pained within me" (verse 4); "Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me" (verse 5). God welcomes your honest feelings too.
God rewarded David's deep faith. After David moaned and cried out to God, his memories of God's faithfulness called up a wellspring of confident trust. Psalm 55 continues: "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice" (verse 17).
At the end of the psalm, David thinks again about his problems, then concludes, "But I will trust in You" (verse 23). God rewarded his trust.
When your situation suddenly changes, God does not change. When you feel stranded, stuck on the outskirts, your world fallen apart, God is ready to bring encouragement, listen to your desperate cries, and accept your trust. Step by step, God will see you through and return you from the outskirts.
— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at lights4god.wordpress.com.