Lisa Beamer (wife of Todd, a passenger/hero on the highjacked United flight 93) told an interviewer, “God says, ‘I knew on September 10, and I could have stopped it, but I have a plan for greater good than you can ever imagine.’ I don’t know God’s plan, and, honestly, right now I don’t like it very much. But I trust that He is true to His promise in Romans 8:28.”
And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Lisa’s transparency shows a steadfast trust in God, even when she doesn’t understand why. Lisa is choosing to look at her and her family’s awful tragedy from an eternal perspective. Reflecting on the worse day of her life, Lisa decided to strengthen herself with God’s promises.
As David and his six-hundred men stood alone in the ashes at Ziklag, David made the same choice. Oh, he and his men grieved, and they wept so hard they had no more tears. But then David did what Lisa did and what we can do when we see not one good thing falling out when our lives are shaken violently like a dirty rug — we can encourage ourselves in the Lord. (Read more about David at Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30)
Here are a few steps David took and if we could ask Lisa, I can imagine she began the same way:
- Take time to mourn. The wails of David and his men were deafening. I’ve stood in my shower and cried so hard that I just couldn’t cry anymore.
- Recognize the root of bitterness sprouting. David’s men were so distressed, they considered murder. Striking out in anger is a normal feeling, yet feelings are usually not the best driver of our actions. Pause. A friend of mine, who lost her child, said she had to make the decision very early on in her grief process if she was going to be bitter or try to get better.
- Encourage ourselves in the Lord. I can imagine that Daved penned several verses in the Psalms during his lament over the horrors of Ziklag. We can’t always depend on others to do the encouraging. Sometimes, we have to encourage ourselves. If David had waited on his men to reassure him and boost his mood, he probably would have ended up under a pile of stones.
David did not want to mess this up. The very life of their families was at stake. He sent for the Ephod and asked God what to do, and David did the next right thing. He got a word from God and followed it. God is faithful to speak.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)
Encouraging ourselves in God happens as we seek Him. Some ideas are prayer, seeking godly counsel, listening to uplifting music, reading good books, getting out in nature, taking care of our bodies, honoring our boundaries, praising God for our blessings, and staying connected with others.
Hopefully, we will never face the situations Lisa and David did, but even small challenges can discourage us. Deciding to keep an eternal perspective on our difficulties makes living with joy and peace easier.