My husband and I used to swim every day in the summer and I remember how on the first day the water was warm enough, he would triumphantly proclaim: “First swim of the season!” as he pulled himself up the steps afterward. It was what we did together – it was our “thing.”
In this year of so many “firsts” since his death, today was that first swim of the season and I missed him. Yes, it was cool and refreshing; but it wasn’t as much fun in the water without him. Whether we grieve the loss of a loved one or the death of a dream, we have to learn to somehow move forward with the Lord’s help, even though that may seem impossible.
My mind drifted to King David, who also knew what it was to lose someone he loved. He had made a mess of his life, and in 2 Samuel 12, we read that David and Bathsheba’s first-born son was critically ill. The king fasted and prostrated himself in prayer, crying out for healing that did not come. When the child died, I was surprised to learn that David got up from the floor, washed himself and changed his clothes. Immediately he left that place to worship God, and it was only after he had surrendered himself anew and afresh to the Lord that he went home and began to eat again.
Apparently, I am not the only one who was surprised by his actions because even David’s servants asked him, “Why are you doing this? When the baby was still alive, you fasted and you cried. Now that the baby is dead, you get up and eat food.” To which David replied that while the baby was living he fasted and cried, hoping God might change the outcome; but now that his son was gone, he explained, “… why should I fast? I can’t bring him back to life. Someday I will go to him, but he cannot come back to me.”
Wise words. David was willing to trust God knowing that a day would come when he would be able to join his boy in God’s presence, but there was no bringing him back now. What touches my heart is what happened next. When David lay with Bathsheba his wife, “She became pregnant again and had another son, whom David named Solomon.” But verse 24 tells us that God had a special name for that child! The name God gave him was “Jedidiah” which means “loved by the Lord.”
I know that David deeply grieved when he faced the loss of his son. But he also submitted to the Lord, trusting Him with the outcome; and his faith eventually led to blessing and favor. It led to a future that I’m sure David and Bathsheba had not expected, a future in which they were able to produce something greatly favored by God!
So how does that apply to me? Well, I do not expect to marry again and I know that my husband can never be replaced. I surely cannot bring him back to life. He cannot come back to me, but someday I will go to him. In the meantime, as I turn toward God rather than away from Him, as I worship Him in the midst of my sadness, God can bless me and bring about something that is “loved by the Lord” in my life too. Lamentations 2:22-23 reminds us that:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is His faithfulness.”
Tomorrow is a new day and the sun will be shining! I can depend on the Lord and you can too.
© July 2019