Summary: This sermon was written after my wife birthed our third child stillborn. It came from my heart and I hope that it will help you prepare to help others or even begin to heal you hurt.
Intro: In a world starved for life. Life without aging, life without pain, life without hurt, how do we as Christ followers respond to loss? Do we scream and yell because we don’t understand, sometimes, do we talk it out, sometimes, do we tell God we’re angry and we want to know why, of course. However, to a world that is looking for answers what do we do?
With David’s response to the sickness and death of His child we find a biblical response to pain and suffering. Is it easy? No! Can we do it alone, no! Is it possible? Yes. If we truth in Christ and live in a community of believers in Christ we can respond to suffering biblically.
In 2 Samuel 12 Nathan confronts David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. We also see that his child is struck sick by God. People often say if God is so loving how can he allow people to suffer. I’m not going to answer that like we usually do. I’m going to point out the arrogance of even asking that question. How can we as finite, we have a beginning and an end, creatures even begin to ask a limitless why! Does God allow us to yes! How arrogant we are. Let’s humble ourselves and see how to respond to God in suffering instead asking God why we suffer.
I. How do we biblically respond to suffering?
2 Samuel 2.16-23
A) Seek God
David prayed and fasted and pleaded with God over this child’s life
B) Surrender to God’s will
2 Samuel 18.23
When you discover God’s will on an issue stop fighting it and surrender.
C) Stop and worship God
2 Samuel 18.20
When David found out that his child was dead he rose washed put on clean clothes asked for some food and went to worship God. It is often too easy to separate ourselves from God and the family of God when we hurt. Instead as David did let us rise and worship, bow down before the God of heaven who makes life possible.
II. How do we Biblically respond to those who are suffering?
A) How not to respond
1) Don’t tell the person(s) suffering what they need
The priests were trying to hide the information about his child’s death from him because of how he responded to the child’s sickness with mourning. Don’t ever tell someone who is suffering what they need! David knew full well what he needed he needed God.
2) Don’t offer any advice but the truth in love
Be a physical manifestation of the strength and support of Jesus.
3) Don’t offer words unless they are directed by God and grounded in experience
If you have been through loss share what has worked for you and let them know you will be there to help.
Don’t say oh it will get better! Time heals all wounds. Time may soften the hurt but the wound almost always leave a scar.
Don’t try to be their healer let Jesus heal them.
B) How to respond
1) Offer your presence
Be there. Just spend time with the person(s) hurting and listen. Talk if you need to but listen.
2) Offer your practical help
Clean their house, wash their car, pick up their groceries, cook them a meal.
3) Offer your prayers
Really pray for them. Stop and pray the moment you see them. Pray for them when they cross your mind. Be specific ask for healing of their heart. Ask for Jesus to make His presence real in their life.