Memories (Part 4)

Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:20-23 ESV).

The last of the principles in our reading is: embrace the life you have. Embrace it as you would a beloved friend. Hold it near and wholeheartedly. Welcome it with joyful acceptance, rather than grudging obedience. Embracing means gladly receiving and even welcoming whatever the Lord gives us, even when it wasn’t in our plans. It means being fully present, living in the now, finding joy in the moment, and not longing for what’s past. David shows us this principle. He changed his clothes, worshipped the Lord, and ate. He returned to a routine. Even though he would never be the same, he returned to a familiar routine of life. His loss became a part of his “new normal.”

Mary and I have had to deal with that on several occasions. It is never pleasant sitting with a physician and asking the question, “What is the new normal?” At least in my experience, that means what appears to be the future is not anything what I had hoped or dreamed about. It has also been my experience that God does not leave us hopeless. Notice what David says: But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (v. 23). It is one of the many great passages of assurance about heaven and the blessing of being reunited with our loved ones.

So today, if you are feeling weary and disappointed about your life, allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to weep deeply, to mourn the loss of what you hoped for, and then after you have lamented, wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life he’s given you. Into a world of great sadness and loss, God told his people, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19). The Lord is indeed doing a new thing in our lives. He is making a way in the wilderness and forging streams in the wasteland. Press into it, and embrace it. God is doing something beautiful.