Gone Too Soon
David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle.
How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
2 Samuel 1:27
David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle. This news caught David totally by surprise and literally broke his heart. David had great respect and devotion for King Saul and was hoping that one day they would move past their difference and come together and serve the Lord in the spirit of unity. And his heart longed for the rich, godly fellowship he had experienced with Jonathan as iron sharpening iron. It’s no doubt that David loved Jonathan like a brother, and hearing of his death brought a very real and deeply felt grief to David’s heart. His friend was truly gone too soon.
My hope and prayers are that you are not experiencing the deep sorrow and pain that comes from the loss of a love one, but if you are hurting due to the loss of someone you love, please know that you are not alone in your sorrow. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus, our Savior and Lord “….was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” If we take a close look at 2 Samuel 1:22-26, we will see how David handled his grief, and in turn, learn a few things about how we should handle ours. The text says:
From the blood of the slain, From the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 “Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions. 24 “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury; who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places. II Samuel 1: 22-26
David did four things to help put his broken heart back together again:
- He cried. In 2 Samuel 1:11 we are simply told that David mourned and wept. David’s eyes became a faucet for him to release soul-cleansing tears. Tears ran down his checks, dropped off his chin and fell to the earth. The same earth that Saul and Jonathan have now returned.
- He honored them. In verse 17, we find that David poured out his heart before the people with a song of lament that spoke about their beauty and their courage. Find ways that uniquely celebrate the memory of your love one and write it down as a memorial to them.
- He trusted in the Will of God. Three times in this passage (verses 19,25, and 27) David calls Saul and Jonathan ‘mighty’. David recognized that, though both men were uniquely flawed, they were loved and anointed by God. David turned his thoughts to the truth that God saw something wonderful in both these men and offered to them the leadership over His people.
- He took comfort that they were finally at rest. In verse 27, we can almost feel a sigh of relief that Saul and Jonathan’s days of battle are now over. David rested in the knowledge that God had called them off the battlefield, never to study war again.
Our loved ones may have gone on before us, but let us remember that we, too, are soldiers in the army of the Lord. Let us keep marching on toward victory until the day we hear our Commander in Chief say, “Come up here, servant of God, well done!”
Published on Jan 31 @ 3:17 AM EDT
Your Heavenly Father Knows
Author: Marlin D. Harris
“Your heavenly Father knows.”
A visitor at a school for the deaf was writing questions on the board for the children. Soon he wrote this sentence: “Why has God made me able to hear and speak, and made you deaf?” The shocking sentence hit the children like a cruel slap on the face. They sat paralyzed, pondering the dreadful word “Why?”
And then a little girl arose. She walked up to the chalkboard and with tiny tears slowly welling up in her eyes, she picked up the chalk and wrote the words that she had studied in her last Sunday School class: “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight to do” (Matthew 11:26). What a reply! It reaches up and claims an eternal truth upon which the most mature believer, and even the youngest child of God, may securely rest—the truth that God is your Father [and what He has done is what is best for us]. ~ STREAMS IN THE DESERT
How challenging it is to come to a realization as profoundly painful as the one that little girl taught her class that day. The realization that though we do not understand all of the ‘why’s’ of life, we are confident that somehow in the Divine Wisdom of God’s Providence they are all good. We know they are good because they come from the heart of the Father. Our Father is not a frivolous parent who carelessly engages with his family, nor is He an absent father who is oblivious to the cares and needs of his children. No, our Father is the very God who created the world and the life that you and I live. He is the One who formed our bodies according to the enormity of His great Love for us. Our Father is the One who causes us to see the beauty of His wondrous love through the lens of the pains and tragedies that we face. He is the One who makes us strong by the heavy weights He helps us to bear, and He anchors our souls and causes the ships of our life to hold fast while being battered by the fiercest of storms. This is our Heavenly Father.
An old seaman once said, “In fierce storms, we must do one thing, for there is only one way to survive: “We must put the ship in a certain position, drop anchor and hold her there.” And this is precisely what you and I must do. Sometimes, like the Apostle Paul on his journey to Rome, you cannot see the sun or the stars to help you navigate when the storm is bearing down on you. This is when you can do only one thing, for there is only one way. Reason cannot help you, because there is no logic that can adequately explain why you are facing the mountain that is before you. Past experiences will shed no light, because you are now at a place that you have never been before. In cases like this, friends with all of their noble and kind intentions often bring little consolation, because no one truly understands what you feel, for they have not faced the danger that now stares you in the eye. Only one course of action remains: you must place your soul in one position and bear it steadily and unwaveringly before the Lord. You must anchor yourself steadfastly upon your God and trust that He has done that which is best.
And then, come what may—whether wind, waves, rough seas, thunder, lightning, or jagged rocks — you must lock yourself in the helm of the ship, firmly holding to your confidence in God’s faithfulness, and His everlasting love in Christ Jesus and ride out the storm.
What an amazing truth this is. It is simple, yet profound: God knows and has done what is best. Can you state that truth with full assurance and faith? Once you do, the great dove of your faith will no longer wander the skies in restless flight, but will settle its feet forever in a resting place of trust; in the good will of your Heavenly Father!
As elementary and ill-advised as it may be, I still believe that a day of understanding will come for each of us, however long that may take. We will understand as we see the tragedies that today darken the world we live in. We will soon learn how the pains and disadvantages we have endured fit in their proper place in God’s great plan. When that day comes, though it is an eternity away, we will see the overwhelming, magnificent brilliance of God’s great eternal plan for our life and we will be struck with awe, and we will laugh, in that day, with delight.
Chance has not brought this ill to me;
It’s God’s own hand, so let it be,
For He sees what I cannot see.
There is a purpose for each pain,
And He one day will make it plain
That earthly loss is heavenly gain.
Father, You are the Workman, and I am the frame.
Lord, for the glory of Your Name,
Perfect Your image on the same.
L.B. Cowman – Streams in the Desert
Father, the hardest lesson for me to learn is how to trust You, when I don’t understand Your plan. I know that You have purposed good for me, but there are times when my heart faints and my faith grows weary. In those times may You send Your Spirit to anchor me in the storm. You are the Sure and Steadfast God who has never failed me. May my heart trust in Your truth, when the trials assail me, and may my soul find its rest in Your truth that You know that which my fearful heart could never begin to understand. This is the strong tower that I lean upon. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Daily Spiritual Exercise
Today select one thing that has been on your heart and quietly dedicate the outcome of that situation totally to God. It may not be the heavy thing that you have been dealing with. Your faith may not be there yet, but start with the small things, and actively release control of the outcome to God. Then once you feel peace about that, then move on to the next concern of your heart, and release the outcome of it to God; and then on to the next… Soon you will have developed the spiritual faith to release that heavy thing over to God. The ‘mountain of trust’ is large and steep, but you just have to start climbing one challenge at a time, and before you realize it, you will be at the top.
(Opening Content from Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman, compiler)
Published on Jan 1 @ 12:20 AM EDT
Pastor thank you so much for your devoted leadership. Enjoy a wonderful year!
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 7:28 AM CST
Adversity Builds Character through Christ. I will count it all Joy because my Life belongs to Jesus! Great read. Thank you.
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 11:38 AM CST
I am thankful for this fast and the ability to grow and understand what it is I need to do to make a change. I’m working on my patience as I know He got me and will take care of me, I have to work on allowing it to come in His perfect timing and not my “limited knowledge” timing.
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 11:41 AM CST
Perfect message for day 1 of our fast. My family and I are putting that message into practice, one concern at a time. God is in control.
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 6:48 PM CST
Dear Pastor, I want to thank you for the Holy Spirit leading you with the truth to teach your children. I had my two grandchildren with me visiting and they were impressed and want to do the fast. They returned to Trinidad on 12/27. Ages 10 and 11. I want to thank you for Christmas service.
She needed clarity about one or more food to have during fast. 3 days fasting,
She is willing to give up all tv shows.
Thanks again for that intervention
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 9:30 PM CST
Pastor Harris - I just want to thank you for the many years you’ve continued to serve with integrity. Although- no one’s perfect- I haven’t seen any ambiguity from your teachings or leadership. You speak the truth ….. and I support the work you do in the community! !!!
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 10:43 PM CST
Thank you Pastor for your dedication and commitment to Newlife. May our corporate and individual fast take us to new heights as we serve God. Blessings!
Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2023 @ 11:08 PM CST
Thank you for your dedication to God's people and all of the work you do to help keep us grounded. Also the work you continue to do in the community is unmatched.
I just want you to know that you and your family are truly appreciated.
Posted on Mon, Jan 2, 2023 @ 7:36 AM CST
I appreciate you. You make your teaching so clear, so that anyone and everyone can understand and see your commitment to God and His word.
Posted on Mon, Jan 2, 2023 @ 9:53 AM CST
I am so gratful for this much needed time to increase my faith in God and understand the spiritual meaning behind the purpose of fasting..
Posted on Mon, Jan 2, 2023 @ 10:18 PM CST