Read I Samuel 23 and I Thessalonians 4
Then David and his men, who were about 600, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. I Samuel 23:13
For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count that as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. Philippians 3:8&9
Christian apologetist C.S. Lewis was perfectly content to not be married. He lived a full life. He had many friends. But then, at about age 55, out of a pure sense of mercy, he married Joy Davidman, an American divorcee who had come to England to get away from her confused ex-husband. Lewis married her in a civil ceremony so she could remain in England. Then she got cancer, and out of deep compassion, he had a Christian marriage ceremony while she was in her hospital bed. Then, miracle of miracles, she recovered. And then, even more miraculously, Lewis, as quite an old man, fell deeply in love for the first time in his life. A number of years earlier he had written a book about his Christian conversion called, “Surprised by Joy.” Joy was now the name of his wife. What a coincidence! And what a very nice surprise she was to him! But cancer has a way about it. It had only gone into remission and in not very long, Joy was dead and Lewis was overwhelmed by grief and confusion. Why had God led him on like this? Joy’s death made him go back to the very beginning of his relationship with His Lord. Did He really exist? And if so, how could it be that He was a God of love? C.S. Lewis wrote a beautiful little book about this sad time called “A Grief Observed.”
While David was fleeing from Saul, he had a motley crew of untried fighting men who had attached themselves to him. He heard that a little town was being savagely stripped of its food by the Philistines. He inquired twice of the Lord as to whether he and his men should show mercy to this town by going to battle against their marauders. Twice the Lord answered in the affirmative. So they attacked and routed the Philistines. David again inquired of the Lord, will they give him up, their savior, to King Saul? God let him know that they would. The people of Keilah whom David had rescued from the hands of the Philistines betrayed his whereabouts to Saul. So David went back with all his men into the barren Judean wilderness, a place with little food and few places to hide. How could such a nasty circumstance be the will of God for David?
Both C.S. Lewis and David had acted in imitation of their Lord by showing mercy, but it seemed like God used their merciful acts against them. Should God not have blessed them for their righteousness? Is that how God treats His people?
Both David and Lewis wrote of their hard experiences. Lewis glorified God for His “severe mercy.” David wrote Psalm 63. In verses 3, 4 and 7 we read: Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you, I will bless you as long as I live. In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
We know from what they wrote that neither David nor Lewis remained perplexed over the bad circumstances that resulted from following what they clearly saw was the Lord’s direction. It was the way “appointed” by a Sovereign , loving God.