We are now in week three of our ladies Bible study. We have completed the first two lessons presented by Priscilla Shirer:
This week, Beth Moore leads us through the subject of “moving past our devastation.” Have you ever done something you thought was inspired by God only to discover later that He didn’t bless your efforts? David did. David did not like the idea of living in a “palace of cedar” while the Ark of God was housed in a simple tent. He wanted to build a suitable dwelling for the Ark. It was a great idea and David’s heart was in the right place, but it wasn’t God’s plan. God had a different plan for David but God honored David’s heart. He declared to David that He would build a house for him.
“Listen, Beloved. You aren’t – nor have you ever been – a failure. Anything God has stopped you from doing for Him was only so you’d be still enough to let Him first do something for you.” – Beth Moore, from Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed
God blessed David. David wondered who he was and who his family was that God would bring him “so far.” Have you ever thought about the blessings God has poured on you and your family and then wondered what you did to deserve such favor?
After suffering through circumstances that leave us in a state of devastation, we might feel hurt, angry, and confused about God’s plan for our lives. After such doubt, we might feel worthless, but then God reaches down, touches us, makes us whole again, and blesses us abundantly.
Deep devastation comes when we are expecting a celebration, but end up in the middle of a tragedy instead. While David and his men were transporting the Ark back to Jerusalem, they were in the middle of a celebration when Uzzah touched the Ark and died. Their celebration quickly turned into devastation. This can happen to us in many ways, some ways being more severe than others but all result in broken hearts.
In this section of the study, we were asked to recall a time in our lives when we were expecting a celebration, but suffered devastation instead. I thought of March 16, 1997. We were expecting our third child, a boy. We were thrilled. I had already purchased a diaper bag and a couple of outfits in the anticipation and excitement of baby number 3. Our son and our daughter were excited about their new baby. Then, suddenly, without warning, he was gone – taken to Heaven before I ever heard his first cry. I can still hear his heartbeat from the last doctor visit before he left us. That sound is permanently etched into my auditory memory until someday when I believe I will hear his voice for the first time in Heaven. My celebration quickly turned into devastation. Like David, I experienced anger and fear. I was angry because God chose not to intervene and save the life of our baby boy. Later, I was afraid we might again suffer such a painful loss. I feared I would never be the same again. My suffering was so painful, so deep. I wasn’t sure I could ever be happy again. The following year, God blessed us with another baby, a girl. She didn’t replace the child we lost. We will always miss Gabe, but our Megan is such a blessing and joy in her own right. God brought us through that valley and now we celebrate the gifts of three young adult children. They are all Godly men and women.
After Uzzah’s death, David experienced anger and fear. A little later on, the Ark was eventually brought back to Jerusalem and David once again rejoiced in God’s blessings over him.
Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18 NIV
In this section of the study, Beth encourages us to pray scripture-laced prayers for our families. We are instructed to find Bible verses applicable to our families and then reword them into prayers for our families and/or specific loved ones.
Like David, I wonder who I am and who is my family that God has brought me “this far.” I believe families experience many “this far” moments after enduring various trials throughout our lifetimes. I sincerely hope that you and your own family has experienced a “this far” moment and will experience more to come.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” – Psalm 62:8 NIV
When we face devastation, God is our safe place. The throne of God is a place where we can safely pour our hearts out to Him. We can share out greatest joys and cry buckets of tears and shout out our deepest griefs. He listens. He already knows our hearts. We might as well kneel down before Him and lay all our cares at His feet.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
Our fifth session this week covered the “fear of the Lord.” After facing devastation during the transportation of the Ark, David was afraid. Like David, we might be afraid after experiencing pain from devastation in our lives. There is an unhealthy fear of the Lord and there is a healthy fear of the Lord. To overcome the pain of devastation, we must nurture a healthy fear of the Lord. An unhealthy fear will drive us away from God while a healthy fear draws us nearer to God.
David then went back to the Ark and took every ounce of his shaken heart to the God he’d loved since childhood. A bruised heart that chooses to beat with a passion for God amid pulsing pain and confusion may just be the most expensive offering placed on the divine altar. He esteems yours as much as He esteemed His beloved David’s. – Beth Moore
Wow, what a powerful week of study! My summaries of these studies are only a tiny glimpse of the entire study. My hope is that you will decide to complete the study on your own or preferably with a group of ladies, perhaps within your church or even in your own home.