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
God On A Pillow
Author: Jessica LaGrone
“But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Think about the story of Jesus calming the storm in the Gospels. There’s no record of how high the winds or storm surge were, no picture showing the radar or how much rainfall to expect. But even without access to any data about that particular storm, it’s clear that it was a terrible one. Considering that a third of the disciples were seasoned fishermen (Peter and Andrew, James and John), considering that one of them was probably the owner of the boat they were traveling in, and considering just how scared these burly, grown fishermen were, screaming in terror despite the many storms they must have weathered in their lifetimes, this must have been one powerful squall. When the storm was at its worst and they were certain they needed help, the disciples went looking for Jesus and found him asleep on a [pillow].
I love this tiny detail in Mark’s gospel—the [pillow] (Mark 4:38). Even though this story is told in three of the Gospels, Mark is the only one to mention it. The disciples were frantically battening down the hatches and bailing water, and there was Jesus, asleep in the stern, his head nestled on a cushion. That little detail—the cushion—seems to sum up the disciples’ angry reaction to Jesus’ seeming disregard for their safety and survival. If he can sleep while we suffer, the disciples seem to have thought, he must not care. They mistook his slumber for apathy, his calm for callousness.
You. God on a [pillow]. Napping while the world suffers. Where were you when I needed you most? Were you asleep on the watch? Do you even care? In their panic and fear, the disciples have forgotten one little detail about Jesus—his location. He’s not far-off or distant or removed. He’s in the boat with them—literally in the same boat. In the middle of a terrifying storm, the disciples were doing what the disciples seem to be so good at—missing the point so that we can get it. God in the same boat is a clear picture of the incarnation. God has come to earth to walk the same human path we walk, a path that includes splinters and nightmares, suffering and fear. God put himself in the same boat with us and sailed even into the places of our greatest dangers and fears. Jesus will sail this human boat even to the destination of suffering and death. He will hang on a cross and speak the psalmist’s words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). There is no nook of the human experience that Jesus will avoid.
And this God, while unafraid and unperturbed by the storm, stirs when the people he loves shake his shoulder. It’s not chaos that wakes God; it’s his loving responses to our needs. He’s so utterly unafraid of the things we see as our greatest threats that he can nap right through them. But our concerns reach his ears every time. Maybe instead of seeing it as insensitive, we might find it impressive that Jesus can sleep through the tempest. Without breaking a sweat, he turns and banishes the storm with a word. “Peace!” he says. “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39). I always wondered if these words were meant just as much for the disciples as they were for the storm. Either way, his words calm them both. Sputtering and gasping, the disciples stare as if they’ve never seen Jesus before. Once they catch their breath, they turn pale faces to one another and ask, “Who is this? Who is this that even the wind and the waves obey him?” (Mark 4:41, author’s paraphrase). You can almost see the words of the Old Testament Psalm that they learned as young boys running through their minds: “[God] stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:29–30). “Wait a minute,” you can hear them asking. “God is the one who calms the seas. So if the man in the boat has just calmed the sea with a word, just like God does in the Psalms, then who is this in the boat with us?” The miracle of the stilled storm pulls back the curtain and reveals the one who speaks chaos into order, emptiness into fullness, light into darkness. The life-threatening storm is gone, and they find themselves face-to-face with the life-giving God.
Sometimes chaos is a permanent address, an unrelenting place where we find ourselves dodging waves and leaning into the wind without any forecast of clearer skies. But look around, and you will find the creator of the waves is right there in the boat with you, a seat he chose on purpose, storm or no storm, because he knew you’d need him there.
There’s no shame in shaking Jesus awake when you need him. Many of us find Jesus because of a storm of some kind. And when we find him, he’s not threatened at all by the things that threaten us. He’s so calm that the things that rock us to our core simply rock him to sleep. The disciples mistook his slumber for indifference, but isn’t it good news that Jesus is undisturbed by the things that disturb us? Would we rather he be screaming and white-faced too? Instead what we find is that a God who doesn’t consider chaos enough to even lift an eyelid, awakens at our cries and speaks peace into our lives. Who is this, that even as the storm rages on, He brings my attention to all the beauty in the ugly mess of life?
Loving Father, open our eyes to see You in the boat of our lives with us as we battle our individual storms. No storm is greater than You, and no ship can ever sink as long as You are on board. Remind us that Your pillow is actually meant for us to rest on. May we trust You, lay our heads in Your arms and sleep in the midst of our storms. In Jesus Name, Amen.
An excerpt from the Book “Out of Chaos”
Published on Jan 14 @ 12:38 AM EDT
Thank you! Great word!!
Posted on Sat, Jan 14, 2023 @ 12:18 AM CST
Thank you for showing us that You aren’t phased by our storms, that You are in control of it all, that when we are with You, we too can rest.
Posted on Sat, Jan 14, 2023 @ 5:42 AM CST
So very POWERFUL!!!????
Posted on Sat, Jan 14, 2023 @ 8:17 PM CST
Thank you for this mighty word as I continue to pray for my family and friends in my hometown Griffin, GA!! ????????????
Posted on Sun, Jan 15, 2023 @ 12:26 AM CST
God is allowing me to remember who He is. How I should never look back but to keep my eyes on Him. To trust. To believe. To pray without ceasing. To look to Him for everything. To get up and move. Not forsaking all other's. Thank you Father for the word being taught. Come to my rescue Father. I need you. Thank you.
Posted on Tue, Jan 17, 2023 @ 8:43 PM CST