Strong, handsome, successful and powerful, King David was and still is revered as one of history’s great kings. Yet, this same David is resplendent in his failures and despair. Despite everything, there were times when King David just felt alone. He was pursued by many adversaries, his close friend, Jonathan, was killed, his son Absalom betrayed him, his counselor, Ahithophel betrayed him, he suffered consequences for his sin with Bathsheeba, and yet he also knew the abundant grace of God. Even in David’s lowest times, when he could not see breakthough, he hoped in it because he knew he had a faithful God and that God would not forsake him.
One thing that precipitates loneliness and grows it, is the feeling of worthlessness or being alone in our sorrows. It may come from rejection, from admonition, from low self-esteem, criticism, perfectionism, failure, adversity or many other things. We might feel unwanted, or we might feel like no one can understand our burdens or sorrow. This sense of loneliness needs God’s understanding. Sometimes we busy ourselves with other things – work, family, friends, church, hobbies and much more. Yet, none of this can substitute for the presence of God. As the author of Ecclesiastes says, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Nothing lasts, nothing satisfies, nothing gives purpose – except for knowing God.
Consider the following excerpts from David’s songs – he is so honest about how he feels in his despair, yet also so determined to cry out to God.
“Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.
I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living”
[2 Samuel 22:6-7]
“The sorrow of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry entered His ears.”
“For my enemies speak against me;
And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together,
Saying, ‘God has forsaken him;
Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.’
O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!”
These are just a few of the many examples showing how David responds to feeling alone in his suffering. In every example, we see the following things:
- David identifies and speaks out his feelings and distress
- He makes a decision to cry out to God
- He proclaims the character of God over his situation
The way in which David speaks shows his understanding of who God is. David clearly knows that God hears him and cares about him. Instead of turning to isolation, to earthly comforts or to his counsellors, David turns to God. When we feel alone in carrying our burdens, we can proclaim that God hears us, He listens to us and cares for us. God is our help, our portion and our comfort. We can speak out and cast all our worries and cares upon Him. He gives us peace and He is faithful. Do not be afraid to surrender everything to God – even our doubts and sorrows.
When all is finished and there are no more battles to fight and cities to build, David says these words:
[2 Samuel 23:5] – “Although my house is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is my salvation and all my desire; will He not make it increase?”
To his son, and successor, Solomon, he gives this advice:
[1 Kings 2:3-4] – “And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgements, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.”
Even to the very end of his life, David faced betrayal. His son Adonijah set himself up to become king, and the elderly king David had to intervene. Yet, despite all the challenges and hurt that David faced, he never lost sight of God’s promises to him. He shares these promises with his son and successor, Solomon, and He praises God who has made an everlasting covenant with him. David continues to speak out the promises of God despite his circumstances, and we can do the same. Next time sorrow, inadequacy and the loneliness of not being understood taunt you, stand up tall in your identity as a son and daughter of the living God – He knows you, He loves you, and He will lift you up.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
Song of the Bride (2015) https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153213993063688&l=1149615789761592066
– Reflections from Song of Songs and Revelation