I love it when my Bible reading lines up with the current season of my life, when I read a story or verse that speaks right to the situation with which I currently struggle. Like Gibb’s Rule 39 on NCIS, I don’t believe these times are a coincidence, but God intervening to communicate with me when I need it most.
For a long time, despite my faith, despite all the work I put into trying to be otherwise, I’ve found myself bogged down with sometimes debilitating anxiety. I’m not talking about increased stress. I have a mind that views the world through a lens of constant worry. If I find a moment of calm, I am already thinking about the next thing that will cause me trouble.
If you don’t have anxiety disorder, you might find it difficult to imagine a day in my life. But since we all face times of extreme stress or worry, everyone can relate to needing coping mechanisms for those moments in our lives when we feel out of control or in danger.
David certainly knew the challenge of keeping strong in his faith even though the world seemed to be against him. King Saul, the God-appointed king David had been named by God to replace one day, meanwhile sought to kill his erstwhile successor. On more than one occasion, David had the opportunity to kill Saul before David could be killed. But, each time David refrained from taking Saul’s life.
The reason David will not kill the current king is simple. David knows God has anointed Saul king, and David trusts that God alone will remove Saul from the throne in order to put David in his place. Even though a mighty king wants to kill him, David has faith that God has the situation under control. David leans into trusting that God’s will prevails instead of leaning into anxiety.
One episode in David’s story seems slightly out of place, until you consider it in the light of this trust, that God has all under control. This episode is the story of Nabal and Abigail.
One of the places David and his men have hidden is on the lands belonging to Nabal, a selfish man who married well. Because David and his men have protected Nabal’s shepherds, when it comes time for shearing, David requests a share of the harvest. Nabal denies David out of hand. Nabal’s denial makes David immediately angry. Unlike the times when he overlooks Saul’s attempts on his life because Saul is the God-ordained king, David immediately sets out to take revenge on Nabal for the insult he has given David and his men by refusing to share some of his bounty.
In the meantime, Nabal’s servants, knowing David’s wrath will come upon them all, run to their mistress, Abigail, to tell her the entire story. Being wise, she loads up two hundred mules with goods for David and his men. She meets David on the road, humbly offering her goods in thanks for the services David and his men have rendered to Nabal.
Moved by her gift, David turns away from seeking revenge on Nabal and his entire household. In the end, Nabal gets struck down by an illness and soon dies, allowing David to acquire Abigail as a wife.
This episode shows us that David has the personality to seek his own revenge. He isn’t the type of person to take an insult and just turn the other cheek. So, when David refuses to take revenge on King Saul, even when he knows God has told him David will some day be king, we know that David is truly putting the fate of his future in God’s hands, trusting wholly that God is in control of his destiny.
Reading this story for the fifth or tenth time in my life in these last weeks, this truth imprinted itself on me. Why do I let anxiety keep me from facing each day knowing that GOD HAS THIS? If I believe that God controls my destiny, and I do, then why let all the tiny things that worry my anxiety-riddled brain get to me? Remembering that God Has This when I start to worry or fret has helped me get a better hold on my anxiety.
God loves me. As a good friend reminded me this week, He has “searched me and known me. [He] know[s] when I sit and when I rise; [He] understand[s] my thoughts from afar. [He] search[es] out my path and my lying down; [He is] aware of all my ways” (Psalm 139: 1-3). I don’t have to be great like David (who has his share of sins recorded in God’s word, by the way). God loves all of us, from the best to the worst. If we submit to His will, He controls our destiny.
GOD HAS THIS! Try reminding yourself of this truth the next time you face a challenge. I am confident it will make a big difference.