Summary: Lessons from David’s experience to help deal with death.
Life in the Fast Lane
Dealing With Death: Getting Help When The Brakes Lock Up
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 5, 2004
“But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. And David comforted Bathsheba his wife…”
Although it may seem like an odd subject during a time we typically think of Christmas messages, this morning I want to spend some time speaking about the subject of death. We have spent several weeks now dealing with various life pressures, thinking about how our culture tries to conform us into its image and examining what God’s Word says to those of us who are believers – and I can think of few pressures of life that can be so difficult as that of death – particularly when the death occurs during the holidays.
It is not your death that I want to talk about, but the death of a loved one. How do you deal with such a great loss? How do you continue on when someone you love departs and everything in your life suddenly comes to a screeching halt? Do you remember how we used to practice driving in the Driver’s Ed cars? The driver’s side of the car was equipped with standard features, but unlike all other cars, the passenger seat is equipped with an extra break. I remember driving along one day when I failed to stop like I was supposed to and the instructor slammed on his brakes. I was completely out of control of the situation. One minute I was driving, the next I wasn’t.
Some of you know the feeling. People die don’t they? They die unexpectedly. They die too young. They die because of the acts of another. They die naturally. You get comfortable, thinking that you’ve got lots of time and you’ll always be together, then they’re gone. We know the Scriptures. We know that “it is appointed unto man once to die…” We know that death is no respecter of persons. One out of every one people die: young, old, sick, healthy, poor, rich, good and bad. But while we know these things, death still comes upon us and slams on the brakes and brings life to a stop. Watching TV isn’t the same any more. Eating dinner alone or without that person at the table isn’t the same. It is the empty spot in the bed, or the empty recliner – the traditions that don’t get carried on, or the little pleasures that can’t be shared. We lose so much when someone dies: a carpenter, a cook, a best friend, a fishing buddy, someone to hold hands with. Life simply seems to come to a screeching halt and whether we like it or not things are different. David experienced such an event in his life. You remember that he and Bathsheba had a son, an infant son that became terminally ill. As the baby boy struggled for his life, David suddenly found himself in a terrible situation. He couldn’t eat, couldn’t rest, couldn’t concentrate or carry out his regular activities. His life too had come to a complete stop. When the child finally died, David’s closest friends were so worried about what his reaction would be that they didn’t want to tell him, but they had to.
Listen, you don’t have to live with someone for years and years to become emotionally attached to them. No matter whether the person is a baby, a teenager, middle-aged or old death comes as an unwelcome and uninvited thief, stealing away someone you love and care about, and when it does, you are left to deal with it. So the question becomes this: how do you deal with it? How do you deal with the death of someone you love, particularly when seasons of our lives frequently remind us of the loss (like the holidays or birthdays or anniversaries)? David gives us some clues that I want to share with you, and it is my prayer and hope that the message will be one God will use to help you as death affects your own life.