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They Stole My Potato Chips!

Last week when Jessica approached me and said, “Let me tell you what your granddaughter did today!”, a lot of possibilities were out there. Since we have more than one granddaughter, the first piece of the puzzle was to figure out which one it was who had done something “impressive”. But with one out of the bunch always getting into more than her fair share of mischief it is always safe to assume it was that one that Jessica was about to tell me about. My assumption was correct—it was Raegan!

There was to be a party at daycare on St. Patrick’s Day so Raegan proudly provided chips to be shared—except she was not quite willing to yield to the idea of sharing. When the party was over and it was time for Raegan to go home, her mother found her in an irate condition when she picked her up. After a little conversation she revealed the reason for her anger: the teacher stole her chips! Obviously no thievery had taken place. It was just a three year old who did not think she should share what she had brought. Does she have some lessons to learn about life!

Everything was fine regarding Raegan’s potato chip adventure, but when we really have something important taken from us, especially when it is in a malicious way, it is a painful experience to say the least. The Bible tells of one of those events in the life of David in which he suffered great loss. Not only did he lose what the enemy carried off, but he lost the support of those he was leading; that loss of confidence was so severe that his fellowmen were contemplating stoning him to death. As we would easily guess, David was under tremendous duress: “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters[who had been taken away by the enemy].” (1 Samuel 30:6, New International Version).

How did David cope with what appeared to be a most hopeless situation? To encounter such an event can lead to entertaining the thought of just giving up on life but he did not do so; he chose a better route. There is another sentence at the conclusion of the verse quoted above that changes the whole outlook of things and alters the outcome: “But David found strength in the Lord his God.” The strength and encouragement that he found in God resulted in a good outcome for him and his followers: “David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives” (1 Samuel 30:18). That leads to another question: How did he find the necessary strength in such a lowly time to help him gain victory?

Visualize what David was facing at that time: the camp had been raided and his most precious possessions had been taken. On one hand he was weak and brokenhearted but on the other hand he was strong because he looked outside of himself for strength—he found strength in God. Like him, we have to come to grips with our personal weaknesses and limitations before we can fully realize the strength of God. In the New Testament, we are told about a time when Paul, a great man of God, was facing a huge challenge in his life. As he sought God for help, the Lord reminded him that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). A beginning key to finding strength in God is often the realization of just how weak and unable we are to take care of things on our own. That realization led Paul to write in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is true that few of us delight in our weaknesses as Paul did, but we can all find strength in God as we realize that He provides us with what we need to face another day.