May 7 2 Samuel 13,14; Matthew 24

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These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan 

Grief Stinks! | Michelle Myers

S~ Tamar was wearing a special robe with long sleeves, because the king’s virgin daughters wore this kind of robe.  To show how upset she was, Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her special robe and put her hand on her head.  She went away, crying loudly. Absalom, Tamar’s brother, said to her, ‘Has Amnon, your brother, forced you to have sexual relations with him?  For now, sister, be quiet.  He is your half-brother.  Don’t let this upset you so much!’ So Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house and was sad and lonely. 2 Samuel 13:18-20 (NCV)

O~ Tamar was victimized and traumatized.  She was doing what she was told.  She was trying to help Amnon out.  He was supposed to be sick, and she was told to make him something to eat and bring it to him.  He wasn’t really sick, not in the way we would think of.  He was sick with lust.  He set Tamar, his half sister up, to come into his room, so he could rape her.  That is the “thanks” she got for helping him out.  And when Absalom was finished, he got upset with her and kicked her out of his room.  It says, “After that, Amnon hated Tamar.  He hated her more than he had loved her before.”  My guess is, that he didn’t really hate her.  He hated himself.  He was ashamed, and like a lot of humans, instead of dealing with his own messy junk, he took it out on her.

I am sure to Tamar, none of this made any sense.  It wasn’t right.  It wasn’t fair.  She may have even questioned, “What kind of God would allow this to happen?”  Her life was changed in an instant, by something she had no control over.  She was left to grieve the loss of her innocents (virginity), her identity (as a virgin), and security (forcefully taken by someone she trusted, and she may even have questioned her security with God).  Her other brother helped her.  He gave her a place to stay.  Eventually, he even gets revenge by killing Amnon.  However, emotionally, he lacked the skills needed to help Tamar deal with the grief, telling her to be quiet and not to let it upset her so much.

A~ Grief stinks, yet as long as we live in this broken world, we will have to experience it….some more than others, and at different degrees, but no one (unless you are sociopathic or psychopathic) will escape it.  Some of it makes more sense than others.  The death of a 90 year-old person is much easier to wrap your mind around than the death of a 6 year-old child.

Dealing with grief is a process and it takes time.  That is something that I never understood.  My family took more of the don’t talk about it, don’t acknowledge it, and don’t let it control your life approach.  Exactly why I have always just “picked myself up and moved on”.  What I am realizing is that whether you talk about it or acknowledge it, it is still there.  By not acknowledging it, it is much more likely to control your life.  It will come out, just in very damaging ways…..addictions, anger, depression, etc.

Dealing with it is painful.  It is.  There is no sugar coating it.  I wouldn’t even consider my losses to be that great compared to what some other people have lost.  Either way, it still had a very profound affect on my daily state of being and living.  There are times when my entire body felt heavy, as if I had weights attached to me.  There were times when I could physically feel my heart hurting.  There were times that my stomach felt as if someone had literally kicked it.  There were times that I was in such a fog and on auto-pilot that I did some dumb things, like run through a red light, because I thought my eyes had seen it change to green.  The anger and frustration was so intense sometimes that I thought I might explode.  The confusion was so immobilizing sometimes that I thought I was going crazy.

Slowly, day by day, I am making progress and I am working through it.  Some days are better than others.  And there are times, that I totally regress….but there are longer “victory days” in between and the “regression period” is shorter and less intense.  I rely more and more on God.  I am learning to accept that I have NO control over anything, except myself, and I can’t even do that without Him.  I am learning to accept, without living in constant fear, that there are NO guarantees in life.  My life can change in an instant…it will stink and I probably won’t understand it….but He will get me through it.  He will make me stronger as a result of it.  I will be wiser because of it.  And the value system of what I used to rely on for security…my mom, my husband, my job, my money….will be replaced by the One, that I can only truly rely on.

P~ Even though going through junk is hard, painful, and stinks; I am thankful that you don’t just leave me stuck.  The process usually makes me angry with You and takes longer than I like; but You are patient with me.  I pray for Parker’s family, especially his parents, as You lead them through the physical pain, emotional pain, and confusion that they are going to have to suffer as a result of losing him.  It isn’t fair.  It makes no sense.  However, You are sovereign and You are good.  Please guide them and provide them with the right people, places, and experiences that foster healthy healing.  I can not begin to understand the depths of their pain.  I have not walked in their shoes.  But there are people who have, and it is your design and will, that they use their experience to help others.

His plan to bring us back | Nikki Metzger

S~ But God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.  2 Samuel 14:14b (NLT)

O~ A wise woman is talking with David about reconciling with his son.

A~ Life is short, comes and goes.  But God is not “willey-nilley” about our lives.  He always brings us back to Him.

I just need to keep ahold of this character trait of God in my heart today: He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.  (Side note – nothing can really separate us from God, but we can put distance in our relationship with Him.)

A person I love has chosen separation from God and it seeps into every area of their life.  I’m thankful for this trait of God, that He is devising ways to bring this person back to Him.

P~ Thank You God for always having a plan to bring us back to You when we put distance in the relationship!

Guidance or Guarding | Luisa Penaherrera

S~  That is why God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from him.  He does not sweep away the lives of those he cares about – and neither should you!  2 Samuel 14:14b  (NLT)

O~  This woman came and said this to David to try and convince him to bring back his son, Absalom.  Absalom had fled after killing his brother Amnon, and David let it be that way even though after 3 years he longed to be reunited with Absalom.  Maybe David felt that in his position as king, that is what he should do.  But as a father, he longed to be with his son.

A~  Because of some of the things I have been through with people, I am guarded.

P~  Dear Father,  you don’t sweep away the lives of those you care about, but show me where I end and that person begins.  I’m struggling with knowing if me distancing myself from this person is guidance from you or if it’s me guarding myself. Help me see clearly my part and their part.

Our Lives are Like Spilled Water… | Joni Tyner

S~ Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him. 2 Samuel 14: 14 (NLT)

O~ A wise woman from Tekoa goes to talk to King David. She is trying to facilitate King David and his son, Absalom, restore their relationship.  Absalom has been in hiding for 3 years because he killed his brother Amnon. (Amnon had raped his sister, Tamar.)

A~ This is such a great visual—of course we can’t gather up spilled water, (coffee, milk, soda, whatever liquid).  We simply must deal with the consequences—things like stains in the carpet, ruined clothing,  definitely stopping what our current activity was ( usually when I have spilled some coffee I am in relaxation mode) and dealing with the mess.  God is telling us that the decisions that we make in this life can’t be undone.  Our past is our past.  Still, God will not just ignore this mess. He won’t abandon us, He devises a way to bring up back into fellowship with Him.   It is never His will for His children to be separated from Him.

As I came across this verse this morning, my eyes began to tear.  I just love that God doesn’t leave us in our mess. He brings us back when we’ve messed up.   He offers us a new chance with complete forgiveness. We have the opportunity to experience peace, joy and contentment—desirable life characteristics that were likely absent as a result of being separated from God. There is always hope for what is to come.   A verse from Joel comes to mind.

“The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.  (26) Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you.”  Joel 2:25, 26  NLT

P~ Dear Lord, thank you for pursuing me. Thank you for pursuing the hearts of my kids. Thank you so much for this promise in scripture.  It is so very comforting to know that all of these circumstances, (the attacking locust) will not last forever.  There is restoration and joy in the morning.  Please help me embrace the promise of knowing relationships can be restored.  I need wisdom  on how to precede.  I know it entails forgiveness and humility.  I believe that restoration comes when both sides of a relationship forgive one another and personally examine their actions and motives.  Dear Lord, I pray this scripture might become a life verse for our family, that our testimony would be one of praise and gratitude.   I also specifically pray for any reader that has had their life “spill out” and is dealing with the mess and consequences.  Dear Lord, please pursue them. Bring their hearts back to You. Infuse their life with joy and peace.  I pray that each reader that has lost something in their past might once again experience the fullness of a life lived in Your Will.  I pray each reader who has ever cried in the night, might experience the joy You give in the morning.   –weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

No Loafing or Lollygagging | Robin Laney

S~ It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so (feeding his fellow servants) when he returns. Matthew 24:46 (NIV)

O~ Jesus is urging his followers to be watchful and always ready for his return.

A~ Life is precious and fleeting. Every day is a gift with a purpose. Each morning, we wake up with a mission to love God, love people and shine His light in a way that shows people who God is and how much He loves them.

None of us knows when our time will be up here on earth, whether it be because he returns or he takes us home. He gives us our missions and urges us to be diligent each day while watching for his return.

It’s easy to take our time for granted, always expecting to have another day. I am not tempted with the distractions listed in the text but I can waste an entire day on social media or piddling about or sleeping. I can retreat inside myself and be very self-focused. I need a reminder, each day, to focus and prepare for the work he has for me. I need to approach each day as a mission field, opening my eyes and heart to all He has for me and those around me.

P~ Lord, I want to begin each day by opening my eyes, thanking you for another day and asking you to prepare me fully for whomever you send my way. Open my eyes and heart so that I can see the world as you see it and equip me to fulfill the purposes you have planned for me as long as you have me here on earth.

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Posted on May 7, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Kelley Deases

    Thanks for what you wrote today, Robin. Just what I needed to hear. Feeling in a funk/ unmotivated/ self-indulgent/ lazy this morning, but you reminded me God has set before me good works to be done and opportunities to be a blessing. I need to get over myself and get out there!

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