Benefits of Breakdowns

1 Samuel 18

Who would’ve ever guessed it? Out of the blue came this nobody. He had spent his youth working for his dad in the quiet, rugged outdoors. Now, suddenly, he was the most famous man in the country. But he couldn’t wait to retreat to the hills where life was simple and uncluttered.

That first night back under the stars must have been a restless one as he recalled the frightening scene of battle . . . the intimidating sound of the giant’s voice as it echoed across the chasm . . . the feel of those five smooth stones . . . the deadening thud as rock struck forehead . . . the shout of triumph . . . the admiring look of dismay from the tall Israelite king. Now, silence.

Little did the lad know that God would lead him to more valleys—deeper than he could have dreamed possible. The events that followed the giant killing defied logic.

Even though David conducted himself with humility, loyalty, and grace, the man whose face—and life!—he had saved turned against him. Displeased by the boy’s popularity, insecure over his own eclipsed public image, King Saul became a savage, driven mad by suspicion and jealousy.

In spite of this tragic twist in their relationship, David prospered. Three times in the biographical account we read that fact (1 Sam. 18:5, 14, 15). In addition, “he behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul” (18:30). This led to growing popularity, increased favor in the eyes of Saul’s inner circle, military victories, and enormous praise from the public. David found himself sandwiched between public applause and private horror.

It is easy to forget that two magnificent, lasting benefits were born out of that womb of woe: first, the deepening of much of David’s character; and second, the composing of many of David’s psalms. The traits we remember and admire as being worthy of emulation were shaped, honed, and polished while he lived like a fugitive in the wilderness, and the psalms we turn to most often emerged from a broken heart.

Where are you today? Has there been a recent breakdown? A trust no longer there? A friend no longer near? A dream no longer clear? A future no longer bright?

Take heart! It is in that precise crucible that God can (and often does) do His best work!

Some of your best traits and some of your finest works will grow out of the incredibly painful periods of your life.

Some of your best traits and your finest works will grow out of the incredibly painful periods of your life.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.