It was a blessing to see you in the assembly – I’ve missed you so much. But I understand, well, not really, but you know what I mean, how difficult it was for you to come and worship. When the choirmaster announced the first hymn, I was nearly floored – in fact, I was speechless when he called us all to sing, “To the Choirmaster. A Psalm of David, When Nathan The Prophet Went To Him, After He Had Gone In To Bathsheba” (Psalm 51: verse one in the Hebrew Bible). My heart sunk for you, and I’ll have to admit, I was a little embarrassed for you to say the least. Given that this was our song for worship, I’m glad that we had our recent conversations together; they have been used of the Lord to help heal both of our hearts and prepare us for singing. I still have hope for more healing time with you, but I want to speak to the conversation that I overheard after worship between Simeon and David, as you stood by hearing what seemed to be an unfair benefit in the lives of so many at your expense.
When Simeon the Choirmaster expressed his own brokenness, as he prepared the choir to lead that hymn, I saw the expression on your face and remembered what you shared with me. Now I get it. It does seem painfully awkward to hear people express ‘thanks’ to David for writing that hymn, even if it was from the Lord. And Yes, it helped even me to confess my sins to God and feel the joy of my salvation again. But it does seem so unfair when such mercy flows to others at such personal cost. I mean, so many in Israel this week, men and women, have started to repent because the king, your new husband, publicly repented. But you’re still bearing the scars of rape, the murder of your husband, public humiliation, the grief of family members on both sides, the loss of some of your friends who now ignore you, and most painfully, the death of your baby. I almost want to say with you, “Who cares if anyone repents and gets right with God – not at the expense of such personal grief and pain.” But you are more like David’s future Son than you realize, whom David calls Lord. He will bear such pain and anguish like no man ever has so that sinners like your king and husband, and yes, you and me, can repent and be cleansed of our sins and have eternal joy with God. It’s a sweet truth that David’s Lord would suffer so deeply so that we become the beneficiary. At his expense – we get to sing.
Yes, I know that it hurts so bad that you could kill him for murdering your husband – I too have wanted to take justice into my own hands – literally, around his neck and avenge you. And yes, when it’s personal suffering that benefits the lives of others, it just doesn’t seem worth it to wait on God’s unfolding plan to exalt his mercy and love.
But my dear Bathsheba, I want to share with you what I believe will help our hearts as we wrestle with the pain and loss of the past year, and our desire to be happy again in our salvation.
1. Let’s believe that time does not heal all wounds, but the timeless presence of the Lord does. Scars never go away, but neither does the Lord!
2. Let’s believe that when David’s Lord comes, he will lead us beside the still waters and restore our souls – he will lead us into everlasting joy.
3. Let’s believe that if we want pure, unmitigated justice for David, then we are inviting the full wrath of God on ourselves.
4. Let’s believe that God is Just, that whatever wrath is poured out on David’s Lord for David’s sin, that God is also Just for us as well. God’s Justice is so perfect that there is nothing left to punish, not in David, not in us.
5. Let’s enjoy the forgiveness of our sins as much as David enjoys forgiveness. I know it creeps up on you, the bitterness and rage when you see David happy as a lark, but if he can’t be happy in his forgiveness then neither can we. Please don’t hear these words as static and void of empathy for your suffering, rather, hear them with stretching hard to see a happy God who delights in showing mercy to us all.
6. Let’s believe that it is worth it to suffer and consequently others are drawn closer to God for it. This is perhaps the most painful thing to contemplate and accept at this moment, but let’s fix our eyes upon this Week’s unblemished lambs, who will bleed-out their lives so that we may go free.
7. And most tenderly, I want you to know that you are not alone, you do not have to suffer in silence, and I will weep with you as long as it takes.
Let’s keep praying to God as David instructed us, “Do good to Zion [your people] in your good pleasure” (Psalm 51:18).
Daddy loves you so much, Eliam
p.s. Thanks for last night’s supper – the fig and pomegranate salad was delicious. We’ll babysit Solomon for you tomorrow evening so that you and David can have a date. See you soon sweetie.
WOW! What a way to put it all! Thanks Ivan!!!!
Thanks Scott. The Lord is good. I wrote the basics of this when Cheryl told me that it’s unfair that others would benefit spiritually from her physical suffering. A strange dynamic of personal suffering that I had not seen in Bathsheba until a few years ago.