Summary: During one of the most difficult times in the life of David gives us an excellent model for how we can live through a crisis
How to Live through a Crisis
January 30, 2005
Horatio G. Spafford, a successful Chicago lawyer, lost most of his wealth in the financial crisis of 1873. He sent his wife and four daughters on a trip to France, but on their way, their ship was struck by another, and sank. Of 225 passengers, only 87 of them survived.
Mrs. Spafford was among the survivors, but the four daughters perished. As soon as she reached land, she telegraphed to her husband: "Saved alone. Children lost. What shall I do?"
Spafford left for France to join his wife and return her to Chicago. In the depth of this bereavement, he wrote his only hymn: It is Well With My Soul. Perhaps the words of the first stanza will take on new meaning for you, as you ponder them:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billow roll;
Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."
In the midst of the greatest crisis of his life, Horatio Spafford was able to rise above the power of his pain. How do people live through a crisis? Now most of us will not go through situations like that of Spafford, but when we go through personal turmoil, how do we get through the problems of life?
This morning I want to look at one of the most troubling times in the life of David and examine some of the principles that we see in his life as he went through a major crisis. If you have your bible open it to 2 Samuel 15:13-37
1. Understand that the most painful crises are those of a personal nature
Picture the scene for a moment, a messenger enters the palace throne room and brings urgent news of dire proportions. As the messenger speaks the words stab at David’s heart like a knife. David hears that the nation of Israel has turned against him but the worst part is the cause. Absalom, David’s own son, was leading a rebellion to overthrow him and seize the throne. It has become clear that Absalom has the goal of killing David to take over the kingdom.
What a heartbreaking moment for David. This situation is soaked in personal turmoil and literally tears at the fabric of David’s own family. This national crisis flows with personal heartbreak. You may even know, to a degree, the pain that David was feeling.
A crisis can come at you through your workplace, your home or even just minding your own business. Crisis is not a respecter of persons nor is it fair when it comes.
• A crisis becomes personal when it involves your family
• A crisis becomes personal when others assault your character
• A crisis becomes personal when others seek to inflict pain on you
2. Sometimes you need regroup before you act
David takes immediate action to begin regrouping. At this point David has only two options fight or flight. If he stands and fights the forces that Absalom has it would be likely that he would be defeated and Jerusalem pay the price of protecting him as king. If he flees and regroups his position there would be time to gain strength and face the situation on his own terms.
By fleeing the coming coup attempt David does three key things:
• Preserves the sanctity of Jerusalem
• Provides for his family
• Protects his military strength
There will be times in your life when you will need to regroup and pull things together. When you stop to regroup it allows you to:
• Get a clearer understanding of the big picture
• Get focused on the real problem at hand
• Get an opportunity to recover some strength
There are times when quick responses are not always the best course of action
3. Reduce the risk of injury to others
As David leaves Jerusalem, he speaks with one of the military leaders traveling out of the city. Ittai was not Jewish but rather was a foreign mercenary under the service of King David. Both Ittai and his men befriended David during his wilderness experience in Ziklag. (1 Sam 30) and returned to Israel with David. These men served as a type of honor guard for David and did not have to leave with him.
David understood that the agreement that he had made with Ittai and his men could no longer be met. Essentially he was an foreigner in foreign land now being exiled to who knows where. This was no situation for innocent people.
We learn from David that we need to do our best to keep those who are innocent out of the crisis in order to keep them safe.