Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Dealing With Loss

Leslie Basham: Some people believe that Christianity is a free pass--no more hardship, no more pain. But it just isn't that way. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Being a child of God does not exempt us from grief. It does not exempt us from loss.

Leslie Basham: It's Monday, January 27; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

If Christianity is supposed to shield us from ever hurting, then I'm missing it. And so are most of the people I know. Christ offers no guarantee of a pain-free life, but He does provide peace and joy. He can help us live through the pain and teach us through the process.

Let's listen as Nancy begins a series called "Dealing With Discouragement."Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Here's an e-mail from a woman, by the way, there has been permission given to share this...a woman who is 33. She is a mother of four. She says, "My marriage has been a nightmare. My husband is an alcoholic. He is a drug addict. He has served jail time for these offenses. He left me and my children recently. We're penniless. We cannot pay the rent. Our propane tank (our source of heat) is at 12%.

"I learned today that my husband is living with another woman and supporting her. He will not disclose his whereabouts, and he told me to leave him alone when I approached him for financial support."

Then she says, "My heart is breaking. Today for the first time in my life, I wanted to die. I am suffering deep depression and anxiety attacks due to this situation, and I'm on medication. I fear for my safety. I fear that my husband will try to kidnap our four-year-old son. The pain seems too great to bear."

I just read a portion of that e-mail. I could read many others to you. Not just e-mails but letters, calls that we receive at Revive Our Hearts. And then I think of the people that I know, and some in this room who are facing circumstances that could be a cause for great discouragement--just feeling like the weight of these circumstances is crushing in on you and is more than you can bear.

I think that one of the most effective tools of the enemy in those times of our lives is discouragement. He uses discouragement to get us down, to get us defeated and to bring us to the place where we may even despair of life.

You know, in the Scripture there were a lot of men and women who were godly men and women who faced discouragement, who battled discouragement. I'm so glad that the Scripture doesn't sanitize those stories and leave out the discouraging parts but gives us insight into what those circumstances were and how those people grappled with the issue of discouragement.

One of the first people that comes to my mind when I think of someone who faced a lot of discouragement is David. We know a lot about David's battles with discouragement because we have the Psalms.

In the Psalms there are a lot of words of praise and thanksgiving, but there are also a lot of times when David says, "My heart is overwhelmed within me. This is more than I can bear. The enemy is after me."

Sometimes it was literal enemies and armies; sometimes it was just his own heart. Sometimes it was his own sin and his own failure. There were many times when he felt that the circumstances were more than he could bear.

I want us to look this week at one particular incident in the life of David in the Old Testament. If you have your Bible, let me ask you to turn to 1 Samuel 30. Let me give you the setting. The chapters before and after give us the context for this incident that we're going to look at today and over the next couple of days.

David, as you know, had been anointed by God and told that he would be the next king of Israel. But for 15 years after being told by God that he would be the next king, he ran for his life from the then-king--the one who sat on the throne, King Saul, who was an egomaniac and insanely jealous and insecure and was after David. He knew in his heart that David was going to be his successor.

So for those 15 years, there was no sign in David's life that God's promises were going to be fulfilled. He was a fugitive. He gathered around him 600 men and their families. The Scripture says that these were men who were in distress. They were in debt, and they were discontented.

These were kind of misfits who gathered together with David, and they with David hid out in the wilderness, in the forests and mountains, running for their lives. It wasn't just David, but it was David and his family and these 600 men and their families. That's quite a troop to keep hidden away from the king for all of those years.

At one particular point of fear and weakness in David's life, he joined up with the Philistines, who were God's declared enemy. They were the enemy of God's people. But he wanted to protect his life, and so he allied himself with the Philistines.

Actually, in chapter 27, we read that the Philistine king gave David and his men a small city named Ziklag, where they could live and their families could live. David and his men settled into Ziklag for 16 months.

During that time, David and his troops--and this is all helpful background information--David and his men went out regularly into area settlements of the Philistines and would attack those settlements. They would kill everybody in the settlement. Then they would take all the loot back to Ziklag. The king of the Philistines never knew David was doing this because David would destroy all the people who could have told what he was doing.

Then in chapter 29, we read that David went with the Philistine army, getting ready for a battle against the Israelites, his own people. The Philistines were going to fight the Israelites, and David had been with the Philistines for these 16 months. David joins them and is prepared to go into battle against his own people.

Well, the king of the Philistines, when his generals, his leaders, learned that David was there in the battle with them, they said to the king, "You're nuts! Don't let David here with you in this battle. When push comes to shove, he's not going to stand with you. He is going to turn on you and he is going to fight for his people."

So the king of the Philistines sent David and his men back to Ziklag. He said, "You can't fight with us, as much as you want to. This is too great a risk. You need to go back home."

So David and his men marched three days to get back to their home. You can just imagine as they were approaching home that they were a little discouraged. Plans had not been fulfilled as they had expected. Now they're looking forward to getting back home to their wives, to their children. They're going to have some peace and quiet.

When they got back, what they found was not at all what they expected. They were caught off guard. That's where we come to verse 1 of 1 Samuel 30.

"Now it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day that the Amalekites had invaded the south and Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag and they burned it with fire. They had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great. They did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city and there it was, burned with fire."

The language there suggests that they could still see the smoke rising up. I mean, this was a fresh event. The city was still smoldering. Their wives, their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.

"Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep." When I read that verse, I think of a friend who in rapid succession lost through death several family members one after the other.

Then there was an employee who, at the age of 42 or so, died suddenly of a heart attack. I was with this friend when she received word of this last in a series of deaths of people who were close to her.

I can still remember when the word came in that Jim had had a heart attack and had died, this woman--she just exploded with weeping, with sobbing, with wailing and crying out, "No! No! No!"

It was kind of this pent-up, compounded grief that just came out in this explosive weeping. That's what I picture when I see David and the men here. It's like this is too much to bear. They wept until they had no more power to weep.

Not only was there this general sense of corporate loss of the city and their people, but this was a very personal loss to David. He is trying to help all his men cope with their own grief and their own loss, but he has got his own loss.

Verse 5 tells us, "David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive." So here is David dealing with this enormous group loss, but he has also been affected very personally by this loss.

Now when I pick up tomorrow, we're going to see how David handled the discouragement in this time of overwhelming grief. But let me just point out that being a child of God does not exempt us from grief. It does not exempt us from loss. Being a godly woman, wanting to walk with God, seeking to be obedient to God, does not mean that there will not be loss.

In fact, you can count on it. There will be. There will be seasons and times of life of pain, of heartache, of heartbreak. Many of you in recent days, if not at this very moment, are experiencing things that cause you to weep.

We're going to see as we move on in the passage that we have a God who is sovereign even in our times of loss--a God who knows what He is doing, a God who does not make mistakes. What David couldn't see at this moment was that just ahead God was going to put him on the throne. He didn't know that. He couldn't see it.

You can't see now and I can't see now what it is that God is up to. But I want to tell you, He does have a plan. His plan is good. The outcome in your life, if you will embrace the will of God and the plan of God, will be a good plan, even though at this moment you can't begin to imagine how God could redeem that circumstance. He can and He will.

When we pick up tomorrow, we're going to see how God began to redeem this situation in David's life.

Leslie Basham: God can redeem the difficult situations of your life, too. You may want to consider picking up a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick called Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety.

You may not realize how often the Bible speaks to the subject of worry. Elyse Fitzpatrick has identified many of these scriptures and will help you learn to live according to God's Word.

We have this book in our resource center for a suggested donation of $10. You can get a copy by giving us a call at 1-800-569-5959. You can also visit ReviveOurHearts.com for more information.

Now if you'd like to provide some encouragement for us, the best thing you can do is pray. Let me give you one specific way. Please pray that God would continue to meet our financial needs. We're now heard over 700 times each weekday on 525 radio outlets. Being on the air that number of times does have a financial cost.

If you're willing to pray for us on a consistent basis, would you write and let us know?

Have you ever wondered how two people can go through the same circumstance and one emerges bitter while the other appears to actually come out stronger? We'll talk about it on tomorrow's program.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

 

Almost every day I receive e-mails from women and sometimes men, who are listening to Revive Our Hearts and are writing to share with us how God has been using the program in their lives. Or they're asking us to pray for a specific issue or concern in their lives. A lot of those, for example, relate to a situation in their marriage.

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