Turn Your Eyes To The Lord
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6, KJV
What do you do when you forget that God never sleeps? You stay awake nights, restlessly tossing and turning. You think a lot, but it’s usually negative, unproductive thinking. You look into the future, but the darkness obscures everything. The smallest shadow appears to be the reflection of a giant monster. You see the very worst case scenario. And you worry, and you worry, and you worry some more.
I recall vividly one time I temporarily forgot that God never sleeps. It was one of those nights when I was so weary that sleep just wouldn’t come. I was pastoring a church which was in a building program, and though I gave it my very best, my best wasn’t good enough to keep everyone happy. That’s when I lay awake and worried. I worried about the building. Then I worried about my wife. I thought about how broken-hearted I would be if something should happen to her and she should die, even though she was in the best of health.
What do you do when you forget that God never sleeps? Probably the same thing that I did. You worry. But the real question is, what should you do when you are tempted to forget what you really know? And may I ask–what do you really know? You know that God doesn’t go to sleep on the night shift. You know that the darkness intensifies everything—your fears, your worries, your feelings about failure and rejection. All of that you know—at least theoretically. But just knowing that morning is coming doesn’t necessarily shut out the darkness.
The night that I briefly forgot God never sleeps, I got out of bed and found my Bible. I will never forget turning to 1 Samuel 28 and 29 in the Old Testament. There I read about David who encountered some very difficult circumstances. While David and the men who had rallied to his side were away from home, the Amalekites kidnapped their wives and children, and when they got home, David’s men turned on him.
The text says, “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters” (1Samuel 30:6). It wasn’t dying that bothered David. It wasn’t simply his grief over the loss of his wife and children. It was also that he had lost the confidence of those whom he led. His integrity was on the line. He had fallen from favor with those whom he led.
And what was David’s response? “But David encouraged himself in the LORD his God,” says the King James text. Nothing more? No. He didn’t say, “Look, men, I couldn’t help this. Don’t blame me.” Or say, “All right. Let’s come up with a plan.”
When you forget that God works the night shift, get out of bed. Don’t head for the refrigerator or click the button that brings your dark TV screen to life. Open the Book, and get your eyes on the Lord—not on your circumstances. Feelings and emotions usually lie to you when you forget God never sleeps. Simply put, things almost always appear worse than they are. The darkness of the night makes you lose sight of how important you are in God’s sight.
Bottom line: What does it mean to encourage yourself in the Lord? Redirect your focus from the darkness to God, who will never ever fail you.
Resource reading: 1 Samuel 30.