A time to retreat - and a time to engage!

A few nights ago I could not find one of our children.  We called and called, but no answer.  After a short time, I discovered his location.  He was hiding in a closet!

After a brief interview it was understood that he was trying to avoid a bothersome brother who refused to cease his antagonistic ways.  He was fed up and just wanted to find a place of peace.  Apparently the closet was the best solution he could find.

I reminded him that avoiding difficult situations does not solve our problems.  Everything is simply waiting for us upon our return.  We have to work through it ... doing whatever we can to live at peace with everyone.  Even with those who are difficult to love.
I invited him to rejoin our family, and peace and harmony were soon restored.

But it made me think.

The reason my son hid in the closet was valid.  He needed to get away from bad company - from someone who was seeking to hurt him.

But his motive for hiding was wrong.  He sat in the closet pouting, whining, thinking of revenge, and manipulating the family so we would see him as a victim.

Nope, sorry dude.

The story of Saul and David is a perfect example.
Saul wanted to kill David, and chased him hither and yon throughout the land so he might destroy David with his own hands.
Did David run and hide?  Yes he did!
Did he spend his time sitting in a cave moping and asking "Why me, Lord?  Why ME?"  NO!
He may not have understood the driving force behind Saul's hatred for him, but as he continued moving from city to cave and back again, David went about his business.  He fought battles, commanded his men, ate, slept, worshiped the Lord, and sought God's wisdom and judgment for all of his actions.

David had a legitimate reason for running and hiding.  His life was on the line.
He also had a pure motive for continuing to run ... work and worship!  In all of the time he was running from Saul, David continued doing what he did best - battle.  And he faithfully sought the Lord's guidance for every battle, and every concern.  He did not sit idle.  He LIVED.

And what happens in the end?  David has an opportunity to kill Saul yet declares, "I will not lift my hand against the Lord's anointed!"  And then - The Lord makes David King over Israel.  Just as He promised He would.

Was my son wrong for running away from his tormentor?  Of course not.

Sometimes it is wise for us to remove ourselves from a situation, or a specific person.  But not with the intent of whining, complaining and placing ourselves in a state of bitterness and discontentment.

When we run away from something or someone that is hurtful ... overpowering ... or even dangerous, there should be only one place we seek:  The feet of the Savior.
Our rock.  Our stronghold.  Our fortress.  Our deliverer.

For it is only there, that we will be able to gain the strength we need to endure, fight, push through ... and then find that beautiful peace that surpasses all understanding.  Regardless of the difficult circumstances raging around us.

David stood in the dark places of a cave with Saul just a few feet in front of him.  He could have killed Saul in a moment, with full support from his men.  But David trusted the Lord more than he trusted himself ... and he let Saul go, knowing he was in the Lord's hands, and it was only BY the Lord's hand that Saul would live or die.

There is a time to walk away, to separate, to create distance ...
but only for the purpose of the Lord.  HIS strength.  HIS refreshment.  HIS power.
We must spend that time drowning ourselves in the Word.  Crying out to the Lord, asking Him to take our frustrations and fears, so that we might find rest and gain the strength to stand up and carry on once again.

Because no matter what the hardship may be - running away without ever intending to return is not an option.  Not for the believer.

We love and serve a mighty God who has promised that we can do ALL THINGS through His strength.  And that includes facing our darkest enemy or our greatest fear head on - and engaging in the battle, so that we might win the war.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12

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