January is a difficult month for many to work through. It so happens to be one of the longest months of the year, and usually one the coldest. However, that is not all. There is such a huge build-up to the Holidays. So many special events are planned, with friends and relative coming and going. Special foods are being served. Children are home from college. There are a multitude of gifts under the tree. Then, it is January 2nd. Now I face the reality of life again, and I face it with the longest coldest month of the year. I want to be like a bear hibernate until May.
During my pastoral years I found this to be absolute true. People struggled with depression and loneliness. Our lives needed to go through a period of recharging the emotional batteries that had been depleted in December.

There are periods when I struggle with life. Sometimes it is because I am now reaping the fruit of seeds that I put in the ground last year, or years ago. Sometimes it is the result of poor decisions, or choices I carelessly made in years past. At other times unwanted events happen in my life merely because I still live in a human body and have not yet been transformed into my eternal abode.

David, King of Israel, went through a period of his life that would compare with what I have said. This story begins in 2 Samuel 15. David had a large family of children, both boys and girls. Like most homes, there was not always perfect harmony in the Palace. Absalom was a very handsome man and given to vanity and a strong ego. He wanted his father’s position, and he used his vanity and ego to attempt to get it. He gathered a group of men who supported his ambition and they made plans on how this would be carried out.

It is of great interest to me to observe how David, who was placed in his position by God, responded to this threat by his son. At times like this, it is good to know that what you have was given to you by God. David did not conquer the Kingdom he ruled over, but he was placed in position as King by God. Therefore, he would not fight for what God had given him. His leaders,[except Joab] supported him.

Why did David not fight for what he had as King of Israel? He had at other times, and he had never lost a battle. However, when he discovered that his son, Absalom was the intruder, he would not fight his own son. He leaves Jerusalem along with his other leaders and leaves the city and everything in it to his traitorous son. It is interesting for me to look into this scene as the King flees. He has enemies, as all leaders do, and they stand by the road and throw stones at him, and they shout words of shame at him. He ignores it all.

Many of us face periods like this in our lives. Do we stand and fight for what is ours, or do walk away from those who falsely accuse us? There are periods of life that just are not fun to go through. It is how we respond during those days that will determine how those days end.
It is good to have friends in these periods of life. There was one man in the troop that followed David out of the city, whose name was Ittai. [Don’t name your next son Ittai} David says to Ittai, “why will you go with us…return and take your brothers; mercy and truth be with you”! But Ittai said back to the King: “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely, wherever my lord the king may be, whether dead or alive, there shall your servant be”! That is the type of friend we need during those dark passages of life we go through.

Not everyone that day supported the King. There are times in life, when we walk through those dark times, that there is a filtering process that takes place. We determine who is a friend and who is a competitor. There was a man that David had trusted in the past, whose name was Ahithophel. In fact, he was one of The Kings counsellors and was trusted. But he turned on David, seeing an opportunity for his own advancement. David did not criticize, but wafted a prayer to God, when he found out what had happened, and he merely asked the Father, “Oh Lord, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolish”.

I think it is so important to keep our attitude and emotions positive during these times of stress. What I call “toxic emotions” can be like drinking hemlock, along with Socrates. It leads to emotional and spiritual death. The very strategy of Satan is to crush the emotional and spiritual life out of us. If he can cause us to react in anger, bitterness and even physical abuse, he has won his game. But David arrived at the Jordan ford, fleeing his own son, not angry, but believing that God would eventually vindicate him if he kept his trust in the God who had given what he had.

I think we all have to admit that life can be very difficult at times. We get very confused, and we ask questions that have no answers until we meet Him who gives us life and in that life He gives us hope, and it is hope, hope in who God is and what He has said that brings us through the dark night of the soul. A friend of mine told me many years ago that God will pull you through a knot hole if you can endure the pull. That is a crusty statement, but the truth of it has allowed me to be molded, like play dough can be molded, as God allows life to shape us.

The story of David ends with joy and sadness. Absalom, the king’s son who perpetrated this scenario, is killed, as he hangs by his hair from an oak tree. [2 Samuel 18:9] The leaders of Israel call David back to Jerusalem to be their king. But David was never the same after this. It is just like you and me; life has a way of shaping us, and what we are going through right now will shape us for the years to come.
What do I learn from all this?
Tragic circumstances are bound to happen to all of us as we pass through life. Roberta and I learned this early on as we lay our first born in the dirt of a little rural cemetery in the Midwest. Don’t allow life to kill you.
David had five people listed as friends during this tragedy. Oh, how we need friends as we pass through the dark night. Develop friendships and nurture them.
What I have gone through in life, and how I have responded to those events, have all had a large part in making me who I am today. Life is written in indelible ink. I will always remember those events, but they need not destroy me.

Share This post

New to Whitefish Assembly?

You can attend in-person or online! Plan your experience today!

New to Whitefish Assembly?

You can attend in-person or online!

Plan Your Experience

Plan Your Experience Form

Hi there! Can I get your contact information?

Want to pre-register any children?

What date would you like to schedule your visit?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sunday Online & in-person Gatherings at 10:30 Am

Growing together through relationships with God and each other