One passage that I’ve wondered about for some time is 1 Samuel 30:6: "And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God."
It seems to me that what happens here is that in a dark time, David takes comfort and solace from God’s presence…or something like that. What a beautiful way to put it, though. David "strengthened himself in the Lord his God."
When a person’s walk with God transcends the bread and water rations of Sunday-only spiritual life to drink and eat deeply of the Lord’s blessings, they have the capacity to do what David does.
While the church is of immense help to people’s walk with God, people who depend only on the church for their spiritual sustenance will find themselves dry and weak in difficult times. Those who practice the presence of God all the time (to use Brother Lawrence’s language) will also experience weakness, but they will stand. They can "strengthen themselves in the Lord." The language can lead us to think that this means self-reliance or intestinal fortitude. Not at all.
It means a spiritual life that can survive more than a breeze. It is life built on life with God, not life that goes well all the time or life on Sundays. It’s deeper. It’s richer. It’s more wonderful.
Wayne Cordeiro once said, "The Lord never said, ‘build a big church.’ God said to me, ‘Build big people, not a big church.’"
If churches are about building big people, the big church may come. But even if it doesn’t, they will have partnered with God to help build big people, who can stengthen themselves in the Lord. And that’s worth devoting a life to.