David was once again on the run with his mighty men. He had just received a message stating "that the hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." His son was leading a national rebellion against him. David moved quickly, afraid that Absalom would overtake him in Jerusalem and kill those in the city, so he organized a hasty retreat. History records that just to ride with David a man had to have personally killed 700 men in a single battle. So these men riding with David were proud warriors. The thought of tucking tail and running must have been distasteful. Not only were they not afraid to fight, they were men who lived to fight. It's against this backdrop that David's heart is revealed.

Shemei, a relative of the late king Saul, confronted David as he rode in retreat with his band of warriors. As they rode, he threw rocks at David and his special guard, cursing the King and shouting that he was getting what he deserved. The troops seethed. "Who is this insolent dog that he should curse the King?" David's men waited in anticipation. "Just give us the nod," they thought, "and we'll rid the world of this blight."

It had already been a very bad day, and finally here was an object on which they could unleash their rage and frustration. How dare Shemei curse the man to whom they had sworn allegiance — who for whom they would gladly die. But instead of a nod, they got an unusual response from their leader. "Steady men, steady. It could be God. It could be God."

The impact of betrayal in a marriage is not dissimilar to the situation in which David found himself. Betrayed by family, a home under threat, and accusations coming from within and without. These are seemingly hopeless situations. How do you respond? If you judge the situation from the world's perspective, and look to your own ability and resources, if you see this situation as the source of your misery, then hope will be hard to find. That perspective links your peace and happiness to the outcome of the crisis.

In that mindset, the only way you will find resolution is if things turn out the way that you have judged as appropriate. If things turn out any way other than the "right way," then you lose your peace and joy, and in a sense the situation or your mate's betrayal becomes bigger than God.

It was no longer an ugly mark!
If on the other hand we choose to see God in this seemingly impossible situation, then new possibilities appear. It could be God. What is the Almighty up to? How is he going to use this in your life as well as in the life of your spouse to bring about his good purposes? God isn't the cause of your situation, but He did permit it and He will use it as a way to draw us near to him.

As a boy, I loved Captain Kangaroo and one of my favorite parts of the show was the artist. Captain Kangaroo would draw an ugly scribble on the board as a challenge to him. The talented artist would study the scribble and begin to draw around the seemingly meaningless mark. To the artist, something was revealed by that doodling and he would incorporate it into a magnificent drawing. When he was finished, it was impossible to distinguish the mark from the drawing. It was no longer an ugly mark; it was now a part of the whole.

I believe that is exactly how God operates in our lives when those ugly marks appear. He takes the evil that has invaded our lives and works it into His will and works it into His plan. I really don't know what's good or bad, only God does, and as long as I can remember that, things are never out of control. As I keep God as my focus rather than my mate or the situation in our marriage, then I can still experience peace even in the darkest hour. Let's try to see Him in everything. Steady, it could be God!

The story of Absalom and David can be found in 2 Samuel 15.