16David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted and went into his house and spent the night lying in sackcloth on the ground. 17The elders of his household stood beside him to help him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them. – 2 Samuel 12 :16-17
Many of us have been there: desperate for a miracle, begging God to fix it, to just snap his fingers and fix our health, our children, our marriage, our finances, our job situation, etc.
We pray, we cry, and we fast so that He will fix our problem and resurrect that dead part of our life. We want to hear the same words that Jesus said to the little girl He brought back to life. “My child, get up” (Luke 8:54)—all is well again.
Some of us understand God’s perfect timing. While we pray, cry and fast, we know that God has a reason to make us wait. We liken ourselves to Abraham and Sarah. They waited a long time for God to bear them a child; but their story is one of the greatest examples of God’s faithfulness.
“11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[a] considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Hebrews 11: 11
So, when we pray we get two answers: Yes and Wait.
18 On the seventh day the child died. . 2 Samuel 12 :18
Wait…what? God said No. Personally, I really don’t like the sound of that. However, what happened to David was part of God’s will at the time—He allowed the child to die. I find that as Christians we talk a lot about God’s will; we pray about it when we say the Lord’s prayer:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,[b]”
However, do we understand what that means? Jesus understood that best (duh!) when He prayed to the Father before his crucifixion:
Saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42 ESV
Sometimes, we get the answer ‘no’. If you think about it, it makes sense coming from our Eternal Father. Parents do the same thing: “Yes, you can have some water” – “Wait, you can eat your cupcake after dinner” –“No, I can’t buy you a new car” (I know those examples are trivial compared to David’s prayer, but they are to show a point).
The real question is how do we act after God says no?
But David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Look, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not listen to us. So how can we tell him the child is dead? He may even harm himself.”
19When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he perceived that the child was dead. So he asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” “He is dead,” they replied. – 2 Samuel 12:19
Did David yell at God? Curse His name? Refuse to talk to Him for weeks? Refuse to eat? In other words, did David throw a tantrum? (Again, I don’t want to make light of David’s pain, but that is what it would be.)
20Then David got up from the ground, washed and anointed himself, changed his clothes, and went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request, they set food before him, and he ate. 2 Samuel 12 :20
He got up, clean himself up, when to church, WORSHIPED God, and then went to get some food. Yeah, read that again, even his servants were shocked:
21“What is this you have done?” his servants asked. “While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate.”
22David answered, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let him live.’ 23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12 :21-23
This is a man that understood and accepted God’s answer; which is one of the messages of Samuel 12:16-22—understand that God says ‘no’ and accept it.
Now it is important to note that David received a ‘no’ from God because it was a consequence of his sin. Jesus did nothing wrong; however, the Father did not remove “this cup”, because Christ’s crucifixion paved the way to Salvation. There are many reasons why He could say ‘no’; we may understand why God said ‘no’ in our lifetime, or we may have to ask Him in heaven.
I never had a child die; however, I feel like I would not have the strength to immediately clean myself up, and I probably would not be worshipping God right away—I would either be too angry or too hurt. Also, I would probably neglect my health.
However, God doesn’t abandon us when he says ‘no’, he gives us strength:
13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13
This verse has been used many times by athletes throughout time or in light of great achievements and events. However, the verse says “all things” not “all great/positive things”.
Even if that part of our life never gets better or dies, God will be with you. He will give you the strength to pick yourself up. During this time of pain, it is important to keep worshiping the Lord, and it is also crucial that you take care of yourself.
So, pray—pray boldly, pray according to His will (John 5:14), pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and always be faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Understand that God has 3 answers, but He will never abandon you.