When David Felt Abandoned by God

The Cave of Emotional Darkness

David left Gath and was so alone that he despairs. And now David feels abandoned as moves to a new location that is very foreign to him. David wrote Psalm 13—how to overcome the feelings of despair, abandonment and loneliness when we are in a very dark situation that seems hopeless. The tone of this whole period of "cave times" is described by David in the first verse of Psalm 13. Look there with me and note the very first verse:

"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" —Psalm 13:1

As a believer, regardless of the extent of our spiritual maturity, it's possible to reach a point so low we actually feel that everyone—even God—has abandoned us. That was David's desperate condition when he wrote Psalm 13.

Psalm 13 reveals that Christ can't be our Refuge if we don't hear His invitation to flee to Him, or remember He's there. Sometimes we have to hit bottom, go through dark waters, or face incredible convulsions in our lives to really see Him even though He's been there all the time.

I deeply learned that lesson at 27,000 feet while flying home from a Shepherds Conference in Los Angeles. Through that harrowing experience I gained an unforgettable insight.

Having heard the preflight safety lecture dozens of times, I started to read and ignored it, never thinking about anything other than what I needed to do before landing in Tulsa.

Initially, this particular flight seemed uneventful. An empty seat beside me became my desk, and as the world slowly drifted by outside my window, I worked. After a bit, clouds began to darken the sky, so I turned on the light and kept studying. An announcement to fasten seatbelts appeared ordinary, not at all uncommon.

Suddenly, the plane did its first roller coaster move; it quickly dropped and then immediately went straight up like an elevator. When a very hard jolt knocked open a few overhead compartments and belongings fell out, scattered cries of fear could be heard from all over the cabin.

From that moment on this unexpected twist captured my rapt attention and all I thought about was this: Who, exactly, is up front flying this plane? How much experience do they have? How skilled are they in thunderstorm management?

Who's Flying The Plane?

What tremendous lesson did I learn on that flight? It's perfectly normal to not pay much attention to stuff in general as long as our lives are going along smoothly!

Who even thinks about the pilot until the weather gets rough? But when the plane jolts, jumps, rocks, and swerves—that's ALL we can think about. And then we want to know: Who is steering this careening machine? The pilot instantly becomes very important because our safety is in his hands!

The same is true in life. But let the rough family times, the roller coaster ride of our emotions, the crash of our finances, or the plummet of our health come—THEN the Pilot captures our rapt attention.

God was about to capture David's full attention after fleeing to the wilderness to live in the cave of Adullam. This launched David's "cave times" period, which would soon prove to be one of his deepest trials.

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