2 Samuel 1:12 (NLT)
They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.
If you live long enough, you will suffer great tragedy and loss; this is a reality of life.
As a pastor for many years I walked with families through incredible pain and loss and there is something I have learned: people have trouble grieving.
I’ve known people go for years and never really deal with their loss. But trust me, it is there and it affects everything they do.
I thought about that in my recent studies of all the times fasting is mentioned in the bible—especially in our text for today.
The backdrop is a low point for the nation. Something comparable for the USA would have been when President Kennedy was assassinated or when Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers were attacked. Israel had suffered a terrible and humiliating defeat and to add insult to injury their king and the heir apparent had both been killed.
Here they were—leaderless, overrun and in disarray.
What did they do?
They acknowledged it and called a fast and a day of mourning.
They didn’t try to pretend everything was OK. They didn’t try to pretend it was business as usual. They didn’t try to be strong for others. Rather, they stopped and processed what had happened.
This devotional will probably not be for everyone, but I sense in my heart that I am communicating to some that need to hear this.
Perhaps it’s time for you to face that huge and life-altering tragedy that ambushed you. Pick out a day and call a personal fast. Declare a “personal day of mourning”. You can’t allow your loss and grief to bog you down in the Valley of the Shadow of Death forever, but it is extremely difficult to get out of that valley until you take the time to acknowledge your loss and process it.
- Prayer: Father God, I know you can handle my questions, hurt and even anger; the question is, “Can I?” Please give me the strength and grace to face my loss, build upon it and trust you to make good come from it.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NLT)
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.