My step-sister just lost a baby and our entire family was devastated by the loss. After months of prayer, it seemed like God was going to keep the little fella against all the odds. However, after almost nine miraculous months, he isn’t with us any longer. And it breaks my heart. But maybe, just maybe, we can rest in the Lord, because even in the seemingly darkest moments, God is still sovereign and His perfect plan is at work.
Note: I in no way want to make light of this matter. Our goal today is just to turn to God’s word to help us determine the godly way to move forward during the grieving process.
In this periocope, David and the wife that he stole from Uriah, Bathsheba, had a son. Then God struck the infant with a serious illness. So, as any godly parent would, David began fervently interceding for the child:
“David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went home, and spent the night lying on the ground. The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them.” v. 16-17
Know the feeling? I remember begging the Lord relentlessly to heal my daughter’s craniosynostosis (a condition where some of her skull sutures prematurely fused). I couldn’t fast because I was still nursing her, but for months, as we schlepped between doctor’s offices, I prayed over her without ceasing. Why? I believed, just like David, that the God who knit her together in my womb could also heal her complex condition. After all, He said it Himself, “Look, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
“On the seventh day the baby died. But David’s servants were afraid to tell him the baby was dead. They said, “Look, while the baby was alive, we spoke to him, and he wouldn’t listen to us. So how can we tell him the baby is dead? He may do something desperate.” When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, “Is the baby dead? ” “He is dead,” they replied.” v. 18-19
Why God does miraculously heal some, like my daughter (Praise the Lord!), and does not heal others, is one of the questions saints from every age have pondered. I honestly believe that this is one of the many mysteries that we will not be able to understand until God explains it in Heaven. It is beyond our capacity. However, we can pray for the faith and peace to walk like Job in the wake of losing all of his children to divine calamity:
“Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.” Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.” Job 1:20-22
Notice how Job grieved. He didn’t try to hide the fact that he was in great pain and he didn’t bash/desert God, instead he stayed close to the source of his hope and joy through intimate worship. What great faith and what a wonderful example for us! Job’s story (thought to be the earliest written book of the Bible) seems to have also encouraged David and informed his posture as he processed the news of his loss.
“Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested something to eat. So they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, “What did you just do? While the baby was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate food.” He answered, “While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll go to him, but he will never return to me.”” v. 20-23
Wow, right? While David’s response could be viewed as crass, I want us to look at it from a different perspective. David did an amazing job embracing God’s sovereign plan and judgment on the matter. He didn’t kick and scream. He simply accepted the reality of the situation as bitter as it must have felt and worshipped God in the midst of it all. And he was right, in that, if we become so grief stricken that we stop caring for ourselves and/or our surviving loved ones, we too may end up deceased. And that is no good, Mama. We must embrace God’s decisions as part of our stories and continue living out his sovereign plans. Because guess what? If you are still here on this side of creation, your story as planned by God is not over yet either.
“Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba; he went and slept with her. She gave birth to a son and named him Solomon. The Lord loved him, and He sent a message through Nathan the prophet, who named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord.” v. 24-25
What a poignant reminder not to grieve alone (Think Ecclesiastes 4:9- 12). And look at God! In the wake of grief and loss, David consoled his wife and the Lord blessed them both with another son. A son whom God loved in a special way. What a blessing! (Note: The text never says that the other son was necessarily unloved by God.)
Regardless of what happens in this life, though, we as believers celebrate the fact that one day, there will be no more death and grief. Oh glorious day!
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death. For God has put everything under His feet. But when it says “everything” is put under Him, it is obvious that He who puts everything under Him is the exception. And when everything is subject to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subject to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
One day Jesus will come back and make all things right and new. Until then, we must patiently wait in anticipation of this great hope, clinging to God’s word for direction and encouragement.
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