1 Samuel 30:6 “David was greatly distressed … But David found strength in the Lord his God.”
Grief is a lonely street. Devastating events often drop us into emotional places of isolation. The dagger of loss can cut and separate us from even the most caring people around us. Grief comes from many things — disappointment, betrayal, death, life transition, and more. All of the complex emotions derived from the pain can create a sense of loneliness. It’s kind of like walking alone in the rain.
I have a daily ritual of walking the dog. Regularly I either circle our property to give her freedom to run, or I walk her on her leash down our road to the bike path and back. The other day it was raining. But because Apache still needed her exercise, I grabbed her leash, an umbrella, and off we went.
We hadn’t gone far when I sensed the deep quiet. There were no lawn mowers roaring to life, no other dogs barking, no people relaxing on their front porches, no cars to step aside for. Even the chalk messages someone had left on the bike path had been washed away. Except for the pattering of raindrops on my umbrella it was silent. Other than Apache, I was eerily alone.
David understood this forsaken feeling. Throughout his life he often experienced isolation and pain that came from loss and the lonely place of leadership. One day he and his men returned to their camp at the town of Ziklag to discover that the Amalekites had pillaged and burned their encampment. This fierce enemy had ruthlessly taken all the women and children captive. David was greatly distressed at the terrible shock of losing his family. But it was made even worse because his men blamed him for the disaster and spoke of stoning him. This man of God found himself on a very lonely street with the rain pouring down around him.
But David didn’t crumble in his despair. He had learned from past experience how to handle his cycle of emotions. He openly faced the pain by weeping aloud over the great loss until he had no physical strength left. Then He called on his greatest source of power and wisdom. David found strength in the Lord his God. He called a trusted counselor, Abiathar the priest, and together they inquired of the Lord how to proceed through this tragedy. God instructed David to pursue the raiding party and promised to help them succeed in the rescue. David believed God and moved forward with a purpose.
We, like David, will someday find ourselves walking alone in the rain. How can we follow his example of strengthening ourselves in the Lord when that day comes? Consider these steps to begin the process of healing.
First, we must force our mind to focus on the truth. It is normal to feel the intensity of the pain, but we can’t let it tell us lies. We may feel alone, but our God has promised never to leave nor forsake us. He has assured us He will provide for all our needs and has our best at heart. Search His word for promises, write them out, and cling to them tightly.
Second, despite the urge to isolate yourself, seek out people who can help you find the road to healing. This may be a family member, a close friend, a counselor, or even a support group. Call on them regularly and allow them the privilege of speaking into your life or silently lending much needed comfort by their presence.
Third, try to keep a routine in your life. It may be a new normal, but find rhythms that keep you moving forward. Make sure to eat healthy foods and get enough exercise to strengthen your body and your mind for continued healing.
All of us will someday take a long and lonely walk in the rain. But when you are faced with your unique experience of heartache and distress, look where David looked for the courage to go on.
Grief is a lonely street, and one day — perhaps soon — you’ll find yourself walking its length. But remember the lessons that a very imperfect man, but a faithful one, teaches us from the pages of Scripture. Focus on trusting in God’s provision for you. He was faithful to his servant David; He promises to be just as faithful to you.
Sandra Sheridan is a midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.