Many of you faithful readers are aware that my wife Michelle's mother was recently called home to be with the Lord. In my capacity as a minister, it is part of my calling to deal with death and help others find understanding, meaning and hopefully a strengthened faith in the loss of a loved one. This is the first time, however, it has struck so closely to home. I have eulogized many but never a relative.
There may be some of you that have endured such a loss or perhaps are dealing with it even now. If neither of these are the case, there will surely come a time when a knock on the door of your heart will come. The following preciously written devotional is offered for us all.
"Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, 'Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!' But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, 'Is the child dead?' And they said, 'He is dead.' So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped." 2 Sam 12:15-20
Despite being "a man after God's own heart," David was very human with all of the flaws and weaknesses that can be found in any human being. He famously sinned with Bathsheba, impregnated her and had her husband killed when he refused to go into her during a weekend pass designed to cover David's tracks. Despite his contrition and repentance and God's forgiveness, there were consequences for his actions. One of the consequences unfortunately involved the death of the child. David then experienced a depth of sorrow that every parent dreads. The illness and expected passing of his baby made him inconsolable.
Beloved, I pray that you will never know such loss, particularly as a result of your own sin. Nevertheless, we all, at some point in our lives, have known or will know despair. If we haven't yet, we will someday experience pain that is unimaginable. Despite the best efforts of others to comfort us, there seems to be no word that can be spoken, no medicine that can be taken and no prayer that can be prayed that will deliver us from our sorrow. This is a normal part of our human existence. The key is to remain faithful despite these trials and tribulations.
When there was nothing more to be said or done, David cleaned himself up and went to worship. What we learn from him is that despite his sin, punishment and pain, he never lost contact with the God who made Him. He remained prayerful throughout his ordeal. Through fasting, he sacrificed to the Lord hoping to find favor. And when he found that God's judgment was final, he worshiped him. He never broke faith with God nor lost faith in Him despite having the worst experience of his life. When his servants asked why he despaired so when the child was still alive but recovered so quickly upon his death, he shared concerning his child, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me," 2 Samuel 12:23. Even this was an amazing display of faith in the Father. When storms come, let us all be sure to do likewise.