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Journeying thru tough times

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There are some things in life that we have no control over.  When David was warned by the prophet Nathan that the child borne to him by Uriah’s wife Bathsheba would be struck to death, he fasted and spent nights lying in sackcloth, refusing to eat anything.

On the seventh day the child died. His attendants were afraid to tell him as they thought he would be devastated and may do something desperate. David, realizing that they were whispering among themselves enquired if the child had died.

Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

David’s reaction is shown in 2 Samuel 14: 20 – 21

“Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

There are some things in life that will knock you sideways. David set an example then and for us now  how to deal with adversity i.e. turn it into a positive.  Instead of succumbing to defeat, get up, wash yourself, put on lotion, change your clothes and worship the Lord!

People will be baffled at your reaction. I remember a friend saying to me that she is not sure how I have coped in the past two years as I should be sectioned by now. Actually I don’t think I have coped at all and I cannot hold up my hand and take the credit because God is my strength. Psalm 18:1 ‘I love you, Lord, my strength’ has always been one of my favourite bible verse, so much so I remember asking a friend at Bible College to do a cartoon version of it for me and today I relish the Manga bible interpretation of the whole Psalm, short and sweet, depicting how God is so eager to rescue.

And when they enquired of David as to why he’s not acting crazy so that they may have a reason to section him, we see David’s response and reaction in verses 22 & 23 .

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’  But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

There are some things in life that we have no control over.  In every situation, God has the ultimate control.  David knew where is strength lies to the point that even though he was going through a painful situation he was able to comfort his wife. God will use your test to be a testimony to others. He will use your pain to bless others, to share with others the comfort you receive in times of trouble. (2 Corinthians 1:4) That’s what is called the blessing of adversity – finding your God-given purpose in life’s troubles. We will learn to greet our trouble with joy, turning our adversity into an advantage. If you learn to see God’s blessing in adversity, you’ll come to understand what King David meant when he wrote, “It is good for me that I was afflicted” (Psalm 119:71, ESV).

The death of a child is not something to trivialise but David knew who had the ultimate control and that God’s discipline was just for his unjust act. So what about adversity when there is no unjust act I hear you say? That’s another topic to consider but for now I will only draw your attention to the book of Job.  Whatever the situation God has assured us like Isaiah that we are safe in the palm of his hands (Isaiah 49: 2b). He is our rock, our place of safety, the one who saves us.

During times of difficulty we are faced with many questions. Can God bring any good out of my predicament? Can He enable me to overcome my season of distress? Perhaps you’re facing a health challenge, or you’ve just lost your job. How do you deal with such valleys? If “God is working for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), is He not also able to empower you to find His blessings in your troubles?  We all go through seasons of difficulty. Sometimes the challenge is financial, where we cannot make ends meet or the loss of a home, or sudden unemployment. At other times the difficulty comes as painful grief or circumstances as in the loss of a loved one.

The blessing is to be able to come to a place where we can experience God’s peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)  I can recall the death of my mother in 2004 where I experience such wrenching pain but amidst this my experience of God’s peace was so evident that it surprised me. If you are wrestling with life’s trials, it will empower you to embrace your challenges and acknowledge the inevitability of trouble. 2 Timothy 3:12 reminds us that “all who live godly lives will suffer persecution”

The good news is in Isaiah 49:8 ‘”When it is time to show you my favour, I will answer your prayers. When it is time to save you, I will help you.  I will keep you safe.”

And God did show David his favour as seen in verse 24,

‘He went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.’

Will you waste your pain, or will you permit God to use it for His glory?

I would encourage you in following David’s example; Get up, make love to your wife (if you have one), do your praise dance and praise God.

‘For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime: weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.‘ (Psalm 30:5)

The blessing of adversity is to be able to find peace in the midst of tough times, to be able to experience the miracle of the moment, to dance like David danced!

Reference: “The Blessing of Adversity – Barry C. Black – Chaplain of the United State senate”

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