David was the second king of Israel, leader of God’s chosen people. I identify with David for so many reasons. He had a humble upbringing. He was a fighter. He loved to praise. He loved to sing. He loved to write. He was a vile sinner. He was given a life only God could have planned.
And his son died too. In this season of my life, I connect the most with the time of David’s life when his baby died (2 Samuel 12:14-25). I find myself drawn to his writings. I am seeking solace from someone who understands.
This is the man who wrote Psalm 34.
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
In the middle of this writing, he asks us, “Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?”
I can feel David tenderly looking at me from the beyond, asking me, “Do you want a life that is free of pain, where your sorrow is healed? Do you want to feel joy again? Serena, do you want to experience life again, when you were whole?”
“Yes! David, YES I DO! How? How do I live again? How do feel joy again? How do I survive this?”
From his psalm he speaks to me, Serena,
- Boast only in the Lord
- Exalt his name
- Look to him for help
- Take refuge in him
- Fear him
- Trust him
- Turn away from evil and do good
- Search for peace and work to maintain it
The Lord is close.
How do I survive the death of my child? The choice is mine today. I have a choice to follow the counsel of David or remain stubbornly in my grief.
Today, I choose to move. I choose to act. I will boast in the Lord and exalt him. I will pray. I will look to him and take my refuge in him. I will fear him. I will trust him. I will turn away from evil and set my hands to doing good. I will search for peace and work to keep it because I believe. I believe the Lord is close.
Read the follow-up here: How to Survive the Death of a Child: Part 2