Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 13: Year 1
“Then his servants said to him, ‘What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you rose and ate food.’ He said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, “Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, and 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:” (2nd Samuel 12: 21 to 23).
David models for us the position we should have as we go to God on behalf of a loved one. We pray, and perhaps we should pray with much fasting and tears as we beg God to intervene in the downward spiral, hardship or sickness, or circumstance a loved one is going through.
While David wanted the child to live, he also knew that God’s will, will be done. But more than that, David says something very truthful: “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
We all have lost loved ones that have gone on before us. They will not come back to us. However, we too will one day pass away. When we do, we will join those who have gone before us. My beloved of the Lord, this life is not the end. David was so correct in saying “I shall go to him.”
However, it is especially difficult to experience the passing of an infant or a young child. So our prayer for David and for any of us who have lost a child might be: “Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with [David and us in our] grief. Surround us with your love, that we may not be overwhelmed by our loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (BCP 494)
When these kinds of sad things happen the only thing we have left is prayer. David went into deep consultation with God but in the end, God did not spare David’s son. And as we know, God did not spare His only Son either. Love has unknown limits as part of its makeup. Death, even the death of an innocent, cannot be a reason to leave the love and judgment of God. In the end as David said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me:” We shall go to them, but they will not return to us.
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John