Saturday, January 9, 2010

Like Water Spilled on the Ground

In my slow walk through the Bible, I happened upon a phrase the other day and it has haunted me ever since:

For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again... 2 Samuel 14:14a NKJV

That is a sad statement to me and it reflects a sense of lost hope. water spilled on the ground... the statement came to mind when I heard about an apparent teenage suicide this week. Her parents must be asking "what opportunities did we miss?", "why didn't we see this coming?"...

I think about relationships that have gone past the point of no return - folks just walk away, unable or unwilling to gather up the pieces.

Sometimes my own statements are "like water spilled on the ground"; they are words spoken in haste or in irritation. Yet once those stingers fly out into the atmosphere they cannot be recaptured.

The statement originated with an old widow woman who was part of a plan to try and convince King David to welcome back his exiled son, Absalom.

The back-story on this is a twisted mess: intrigue, deceptions, rape, conspiracy, murder, and injustice.
King David was left with a broken family . . . a teenage daughter whose life was ruined, one son dead, another (his murderer) alienated from his family. When it comes to family, David was cold, distant ... aloof.

The widow came to David to beg mercy; she brought a story of two sons, one had killed the other and her family thought justice should be done to the murderer - her only heir.

David got the intended drift of her story and realized that it was all part of a ploy to get him to welcome his own son back.

The good news is that after going back to that verse several times and re-reading it over the past few days, I finally read the rest of the verse:

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14 NIV

God does not take away life... He is the life-Giver. And furthermore, He "devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him".

Ultimately, Christians know that the "Way" that He devised for us to no longer be estranged was Jesus Christ. Namely through His death and resurrection. But even beyond the eternal consequences, it is comforting to know that when I have fouled up the situation so badly that the damage seems irreparable - He devises away to gather back that which was wasted.

This is the time of year for fresh starts. If there is something that is to you like "water spilled on the ground" - why not look to God Who is all about gathering back that which was wasted.

No comments: