When Defeat is Better than Death

The king (David) covered his face and cried out loudly, “My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19:4)

Anyone with a child can understand David’s emotional toil at the death of his son, Absalom. It didn’t matter that his son had become his enemy by forming a coup and would have killed David for the throne. At the news of Absalom’s death, David was heartbroken and grieved loudly at the sudden news. David would have rather lost his kingdom then lose his son.

When I reflected on David’s grief, I seen many comparisons to the grief we experience today. Even though, we rarely have adult children take over our kingdom or attempt to kill us for economic or political gain, many have experienced adult children maliciously causing parents’ harm. Adult children today can steal money, take over a business, or cause bodily harm.

In addition, parents are grieved by children becoming estranged. Or the opposite situation, whereas, you are the child who has become estranged from a parent(s), siblings, or other relative. Any time a significant relationship is fractured there is insurmountable grief. We grieve the raw, constant pain of the incident(s) and we mourn the lost future of how our relationship could be now and in the future. Whether the time is measured in years or decades, the pain is intense and never ending.

This is David’s grief. When her heard of Absalom’s death, he mourned the broken relationship and the unrealized hope for reconciliation.

The king then became very upset. He went up to the upper room over the gate and wept. As he went he said, “My son, Absalom! My son, my son, Absalom! If only I could have died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!”

Can you relate to David’s grief over the fractured relationship? What have been your emotions? Are you angry? Bitter? Depressed? Many of these are signs of grief expressed in seemingly more acceptable emotions. Whatever your emotions, you can bring them to God. Be honest with Him and tell him exactly what you are feeling. God will understand the unrealized lost experiences and the painful disappointments. Whether your loved one is still living, or like David, death stole reconciliation away, share your feelings with the God of comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-6).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the broken relationship with ___________ [insert name] has caused me pain and suffering.  Help me bring my heart to you, so that I can lean on You for comfort and wisdom. Amen.

Suggested Reflections:

  • Write out the relationship losses you have experienced through the broken relationship.
  • Psalm 3 was written by David when fleeing from Absalom. A few key themes are fear, crying aloud, retribution to those who cause you harm, and others. There is also hope, confidence, and trust in God to provide care. What feelings are you similar to David? What additional emotions are you experiencing? Find a way to express them through journaling, recording audio/video, drawing or some other media.
  • This verse reminds us of God’s comfort through others who are experiencing the same “hard time”. I encourage you to seek counseling and/or support group. Please see my post entitled Seeking Counseling on finding the right counselor as a Christian believer.
    • All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that, too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5. The Message).
  • Nearer, My God to Thee This beautiful hymn speaks of the pain and hope of grief.

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