By Jim Schneider, Executive Director, VCY America
How many times have you turned on the news and exclaimed, “Oh my! What next?” In Milwaukee
we’re under a constant barrage of escalating violence, record homicide rates, carjackings, reckless
driving, drug overdose deaths, family breakups, and abounding lawlessness. This is not isolated to our
city alone, but communities across the state and the nation are increasing in disorder as well. Political
leaders are grasping at straws to find the antidote to remedy such troubles but continuously fall short.
Further observances from around the nation are also troubling. Consider the far-reaching control over
individual freedom which has taken place. Additional troubles abound including the war on the unborn,
gender fluidity nonsense, classroom indoctrination, inflation (the likes of what many have never seen,) a
war on energy, the attack on marriage, the putdown of the traditional family, and the scorning of
Christian values. The daily barrage of these matters can lead one to discouragement and despair and
provoke a desire for many to just give up. It is important through these challenging times to stay
The obvious question is, “How can one stay encouraged amidst all these struggles?” We can learn from
the Old Testament character, David. In I Samuel 30, things were not looking good for him. He was
being pursued by Saul who wanted to kill him. The city of Ziklag had been burned with fire. The
women (their wives) and children were taken captive. The sorrow was so intense, Scripture tells us they
“lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” (I Samuel 30:4)
But this is not all that happened; David was greatly distressed. The people turned on David in their grief
and spoke of stoning him. This would have been enough for any of us to hightail it out of there, but
what was said of David becomes a spiritual lesson we can learn from in this troubling scenario. How
did David respond to the escalating troubles? Scripture says, “but David encouraged himself in the
LORD his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)
Each of us has likely known individuals who blame God for the multiple trials they encounter. Perhaps
they have decided to throw in the towel and check out of life or Christian ministry. They will stop going
to church, stop reading the Word, and stop praying, but that’s the complete opposite of what we must do.
In time of great trial and struggle, David turned to the Lord (I Samuel 30:8) seeking God’s wisdom and
direction. And ultimately, God gave him the victory.
The times we live are not easy. The troubles and heartaches compound one on top of another. But like
David, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord. This does not happen easily or without grief. David
wailed at the calamity that had taken place, but he recognized his source of strength was in the Lord.
In times of struggle and heartache we also must turn to the Lord. It is critically important for us to be in
His Word daily. It is there we will find encouragement such as:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalms 23:1)
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new
every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in
him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man
should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:22-26)
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength
and my song; he also is become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
It is critical in this fallen world to encourage yourself daily in God’s Word. It is also very necessary to
spend time daily with God in prayer, committing your way and circumstances before Him.
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his
temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.” (II Samuel 22:7)
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be
moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
We can further encourage ourselves in the Lord by giving thanks to Him.
“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD’ among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy
name.” (II Samuel 22:50)
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (I Chronicles 16:34)
We can encourage ourselves in the Lord as we sing praises to God.
“I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalms 13:6)
“To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give
thanks unto thee for ever.” (Psalms 30:12)
“Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.” (Isaiah 12:5)
And, we can encourage ourselves in the Lord by engaging faithfully in a local church that upholds
the authority of God’s Word.
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting on
another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Yes, the times we live in are tough and can be discouraging and overwhelming but learning from
David’s difficult times we must stay encouraged in the Lord!