When David lost his newborn son, he chose to worship God.
David prayed to God for the baby. David fasted and went into his house and stayed there, lying on the ground all night. The elders of David’s family came to him and tried to pull him up from the ground, but he refused to get up or to eat food with them.
On the seventh day the baby died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the baby was dead. They said, “Look, we tried to talk to David while the baby was alive, but he refused to listen to us. If we tell him the baby is dead, he may do something awful.”
When David saw his servants whispering, he knew that the baby was dead. So he asked them, “Is the baby dead?”
They answered, “Yes, he is dead.”
Then David got up from the floor, washed himself, put lotions on, and changed his clothes. Then he went into the Lord’s house to worship. After that, he went home and asked for something to eat. His servants gave him some food, and he ate.
David’s servants said to him, “Why are you doing this? When the baby was still alive, you fasted and you cried. Now that the baby is dead, you get up and eat food.”
David said, “While the baby was still alive, I fasted, and I cried. I thought, ‘Who knows? Maybe the Lord will feel sorry for me and let the baby live.’ But now that the baby is dead, why should I fast? I can’t bring him back to life. Someday I will go to him, but he cannot come back to me.”
2 Samuel 12:16-23
David could see that he couldn’t change what happened, but he could choose how to respond. He focused on God, not his circumstances. This action in itself helped for grief to lift and comfort to set in.
When Mikail died, I wondered where God was. I felt so alone. Grief is such a lonely place that no one can truly help you through. You have to go through it yourself. Yet, through it all I believed that God is sovereign and I knew that ultimately God is good. To focus on the WHY? of it wasn’t going to solve anything. So, although I couldn’t see or feel God in the moment, I kept praying and desperately believing that we’d get through this, yet I somehow felt like God had abandoned us that day.
It wasn’t until about 2 1/2 years later that I realized that I had been wrong. I had this notion in my head that God was not there the day Mikail died. I had been so angry that our intuition hadn’t screamed at us to take Mikail to the hospital. Why were we blinded to the fact that his simple cold wasn’t just a simple cold? Maybe if we’d known there was a bacteria ravaging his body, we would have taken him in and he could have been saved? Why did he die alone? We were only a few meters away when he died, but why couldn’t we have held him when he drew his last breath?
2 1/2 years later I could sit down and make a list of all the ways in which it was evident that God was there with us that day. He hadn’t abandoned us, but I was so caught up in the WHY? of our situation, that I missed out on the beauty of the blessing of God’s presence within it:
#1 Mikail looked at peace, 100% peace, when we found that he was lifeless. If he had suffered, there would be anguish on his face.
#2 Olivia always needed to be close to me, so when I ran to Mikail and instructed her to stay on the bathroom mat until I came back, she obeyed. She did not follow me as she normally would. What a blessing that her last memory of him is when he was alive.
#3 The angel. I was devastated that Mikail died alone, but he didn’t. While I was trying to administer CPR, and Jason was outside trying to flag emergency services to the house, an angel was with me in the room until emergency services arrived and then left us. It took me years to realize that the angel was there with Mikail the whole time. He did not die alone. The angel was there with us until the appropriate support system arrived. “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways,” reads Psalm 91:11
#4 Compassionate Police. The tears that filled the eyes of the police officer who sadly shook his head when I begged him to save our Mikail. There was no condemnation in those eyes, just the eyes of a young dad who felt our pain with us.
#5 The detective. The detective who would not leave my side and repeated over and over that we are good, good parents was healing balm to my broken spirit. It is our job as parents to protect our children, and in that moment I felt we had failed. She would not allow me to entertain such thoughts and what a blessing that was.
#6 No one to blame. We were told that had we brought Mikail to the hospital, they would have sent us home and the outcome would have been no different. I realized that if we had, and Mikail would have still died, I would hold a bitterness and hatred towards the doctors that did not treat him. Because we didn’t take him to the hospital, we have no one to blame and this in itself is a blessing knowing the years of forgiveness I’ve had to work through towards the doctor that caused the skull fracture and stroke at Mikail’s birth.
#7 Prayer Warriors. There were and still are many intercessory prayer warriors who pray on our behalf. I don’t know who they all are, but I know that they are there and I am so very thankful for them. I do know of one in particular who prayed that we would not be treated as criminals during the investigation into Mikail’s death. And we weren’t. Yes, our home was treated as a crime scene because they needed to know whether the cause of death was environmental etc. but this was all done with the utmost compassion. I remember saying to the detective, it looks like a scene out of CSI in here and she reassured me that they just wanted to find out what killed our boy and that we are not to blame. The intercessory prayer of this prayer warrior, hundreds of miles away were vital in protecting our hearts from even more hurt.
When I started thinking about things in this way: looking beyond the WHY? of our circumstances and focused more on worshiping our sovereign God who through it all is ultimately our Good, Good Father , I found that slowly but surely grief started to lift and comfort set in.
Just as David said,
Someday I will go to him, but he cannot come back to me.
I cling to those words and the promise of eternity and until then I will daily choose to worship our Good, Good Father.