“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1: 9.
How often have you been in a conversation where someone comments that they don’t know how people cope with life without God. Or maybe in a small group, somebody comments that they couldn’t face what they are facing without God. I couldn’t agree more because I can’t imagine coping with the stuff life throws at you without knowing the love and grace of our truly faithful and amazing God. But that is exactly what Samson often did.
Samson was always doing his own thing. He was always going it alone. Because he put himself in charge of his life, his personal desires dictated his actions. Another sign that Samson was going it alone was that from all appearances, he never prayed about anything, except before his final act, when he brought the house down (Judges 16:28-30). He was impulsive and he was impetuous. He didn’t take the time to ask God for direction. He just went ahead and did whatever his spirit willed him to do rather than God’s.
What about us? To many people, God is just kind of an afterthought, a convenience. If we would just stop and ask God for direction before we jump into something with both feet and get all messed up. When things get tough and tight, we turn to him in desperation. Psalm 10: 1: “O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” But when everything is all right, we leave Him on the sidelines. Going it with God’s help means paying attention to what He says and seeking his guidance and wisdom every day.
Samson never took that path until the very end of his life, after everything had finally fallen apart. He was captured by the Philistines, they gouged out his eyes, and they made him grind grain at a mill, a job normally reserved for animals. Notice what happened after everything collapsed: Samson finally prayed, as seen in Judges 16:28, “Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
So how do we keep from going it alone? By drawing near to God when life is both easy and hard, and also through times of difficulty. James 1:2-4 says,“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
- Do you ever find yourself going it alone by leaving God in the background?
- When does God become a distraction, or an afterthought in your life?
- What needs to happen to draw closer to God?
- What can we do this week to better walk with God in our lives?