There is this story set in the aftermath of David’s great sin. He has taken a woman that was not his, had her husband killed, and walks along as though the God of heaven would turn his face from such evil. David is confronted by the prophet Nathan, and his reprehensible actions are revealed for what they are. David confesses his sin before God. But his sin has a horrible consequence. The child borne from his selfishness is going to die.
David prays for this baby. He prays day and night. He begs God to save the baby. He takes neither bath nor food, sitting in sackcloth and ashes and in tears beseeches the God of his youth.
The baby dies. He dies. And the servants are afraid to tell him. There reasoning is sound. If he was so heavy while the baby was alive, imagine how much worse it will be when he finds out the baby is gone.
David hears the servants whispers, and he is smart enough to know what it means. So he rises from the floor, he takes a bath and eats a meal. His servants are confused. They come to him and ask him the question. “Why did you mourn while the baby was yet alive, and now you dress and eat?”
David’s answer has guided me for a lifetime.
“While the child 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 12:22-23
There is much help here for our souls. These passages comforted Angie and I as we lost multiple children to miscarriage. Like King David, we will see The Alaniz Three someday. I will know them and I will cry tears of joy instead of these tears of hurt.
But there is a more general principle to be grasped. David’s resolve in prayer. His boldness in seeking the life of his child. I pray this way. I pray for impossible thing. I pray against the natural order of the world. We can pray against cancer and against the powers of this world. We can pray for relief from a migraine or that pesky arthritis. We can pray for a new job, or a better position in our current one. We are allowed to ask God passionately for the things we long for. God is not a vending machine that just spits our requests, but who knows? Maybe God will be gracious to us? Maybe He’ll stop the sun in the sky? Maybe He’ll blow the storm east so his gospel can be preached. Maybe He’ll touch a wound and it will never bleed again.
I don’t. So I will keep on fasting and I will keep on weeping. And you are more than invited to join His people as we seek His help.
Pastor, Flint City Church