Can you recall a time when you cried out to God, wanting something so desperately, only to have your prayer answered differently than you wanted? I’m guessing that’s a common occurrence. In today’s reading, we see how David responds.
In the time of earnest asking (or pleading), David kept himself set apart from his normal routine. He was fervent in his plea to God to spare his son. David knew God’s proclamation of death for the child was a result of his own sinfulness. We see David acknowledge his wrongdoing when he confesses to Nathan.
As parents, we always want the best for our children. When they are sick, we want to take that sickness upon ourselves if it will save the child from pain or discomfort. When a child goes through a major life event in which they are hurt or disillusioned in some way, don’t we want to rush in and “make it all better?” David was displaying this very behavior. His innocent son had a death sentence on his head.
Because David was so “beside himself” while the child was still alive, the elders and advisors were afraid to tell him the truth when the time came. How would David respond when he learned his prayers had gone unanswered and the child had died? Surprisingly well, as it turns out.
David had to try. In his mind, he had no choice but to bargain with God, showing his repentant heart and sacrificing his own comforts. David literally begged God for mercy. I can’t help but think about the time he lost with the child. While he could have been cuddling and cooing over this sick child, he chose to close himself off. Apparently, David believed his time was best spent in that way.
Have you ever found yourself bargaining with God? When is the last time you earnestly sought to change the mind of God? When we feel like God isn’t listening or is answering our prayers contrary to our own desires, we need to find ways to accept and move on. David surely did. When his child died, God’s will was evident and clear. There was nothing David could do now to change it.
Over the past several years, I have learned to evaluate hard situations to determine whether or not I can control them or not. I am doing much better at letting go of those I cannot change and will often say, “I can’t change it.” That is so freeing and makes it easier to accept unpleasant things when I know I can’t change them. In those times, I can only rely on God to change it, if it’s his will.
When God says “no,” we need to accept that is his answer to our prayer. He knows best. His timing is always perfect. We may not understand why, we need only to trust him.
Let’s pray …
Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world around me. I cry out to you to make changes “I” think would help and yet you say, “no.” Help me be better at accepting your will and conforming to your direction for my life. I am so thankful that I can trust you with the assurance that your ways are always perfect. In Jesus’ name. Amen.