I remember growing up in church watching people equate hardships to being out of God’s will. There was a family that joined our church’s ministry staff, and they seemed to run into problem after problem. Their car broke down, their house had issues and so on. I remember standing in their living room hearing the father say, “We must have missed God. He’s trying to tell us this isn’t where we’re supposed to be. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having so many issues.” I was shocked. I thought they were a perfect fit for what we needed. They used Jonah as an example of why things were going badly. I could have bought it if they had gone the opposite of where they felt God calling them. I tried to explain that hardships and problems don’t mean you’re not in God’s will.
David was a person whom God had anointed to be king. He was in God’s will as he waited to ascend to the throne. He didn’t try to kill Saul and take it before God gave it to him. Yet, somehow, he was on the run for years. He fled Israel to get away. He had to pretend to be insane so the Philistine king wouldn’t kill him. He then ended up in the cave of Adullum. It was a dark time in his life. 1 Samuel 22:2 says, “Everyone who was suffering hardship, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. There were about four hundred men with him” (AMP). Instead of being sent angels or people to comfort him, God sent people who were going through the same thing. That’s not what he pictured when he thought of being king, but that’s what God had in mind to prepare him for the throne.
In that cave, David wrote Psalm 34. Verse 19 is one of my favorites in this chapter. It says, “Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the Lord rescues him from them all.” You and I are not promised sunshine and rainbows in God’s will. We’re going to face difficulties. We’re going to be in some dark caves so to speak. God doesn’t promise us a life without hardship and pain. Instead, He promises to rescue us from the cave and those problems. Also, the answer may not look like what you think it should. God knows where we are, what we’re facing and what we need. Cry out to Him, listen for His voice and follow where He leads. His will isn’t a place of perfect peace. It’s a place where we have peace no matter what we’re facing.