Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-2:11 (additional reading: Psalm 118:19-29 and Proverbs 15:27-28)
All of us experience loss throughout our lives. We have family members and friends who die. Sometimes we lose jobs, material possessions or our health. Sometimes we lose a relationship that’s important to us because of a conflict or because someone moves away. Those kinds of losses are a part of life and usually, we can’t control them. But we can determine how we respond to them.
As we enter 2 Samuel, David and his men immediately begin the process of mourning for Saul and Jonathan. This lament represents a pivotal point in David’s life. It refers to a “bridge from life to death to life. David had been anointed king probably 10-15 years prior to this event and he had spent a good part of that time running from Saul, who was trying to kill him. But now that Saul is dead, this lament becomes an essential transition from that part of his life to his reign as the king of Israel.
Most of us today aren’t really familiar with the process of lament. We don’t even use that word much in our everyday speech today. But in the Bible, the concept of lament was very important. About seventy percent of the Psalms, many of them written by David, are classified as laments. The prophet Jeremiah wrote a whole book of the Bible (Lamentations), as a lament.
Eugene Peterson’s description of lament in his book Leap over the Wall as: ‘..making the most of our loss without getting bogged down in it…’. One of the defence mechanisms that many of us have learned to use in order to deal with loss is to either avoid or deny the loss or minimize its significance. We convince ourselves that the loss isn’t real or that it’s no big deal. The problem with that kind of response is that it doesn’t allow us to go through the grieving process, it doesn’t allow us to lament.
But David takes a much healthier approach to the loss of Saul and Jonathan. The very first thing he does is to tear his clothes and begin the grieving process right in front of all his men. David realized the need for lament and grief. Acknowledging his loss enabled David to move on with the grieving process. If you have some issue in your life, don’t just ignore it, but take the time to lament for it. Hand it over to God and ask him to help you recover and move on.
Is there something you have been ignoring but that you need to lament over?
Father, Thank You that You are with us in our times of need. Help us when we are hurting from the loss. Help us not to ignore the things that cause our hearts pain, but to hand them over to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen