Submitted by Jan on Tue, 04/08/2015 – 12:40
Year B (2014-2015)
Bible Book: 2 Samuel
Verse:5 – 33
I was brought up in a Christian home and as a young girl I was very active in the Christian group at my university. The things I learnt there shaped my faith and gave me much needed direction as a young person, but it was very much a faith that taught me that nothing bad could happen to me as long as I obeyed God.
As I grew older I came to see that my faith was quite robust and that God was indeed with me, but I also learnt that difficult things could happen to good people. Difficult things happen even when we do serve God and obey him.
David’s life is a story that shows how we can walk with God through the ups and downs of life but how sometimes hard and difficult things happen to us even when we do walk with God.
David is a man who is deeply loved by God, called at an early age he has the kind of intimacy with God that we should all desire for ourselves but things do not always work out for him. Despite being a man after God’s own heart he has difficulties within his family. His children who should love each other and follow his example get caught up in strife and violence against each other. This violence and striving spills out from David’s family into the life of the nation, and Absalom plots to take David’s throne.
Eventually the kingdom is restored to David but this costs Absalom his life. David weeps for his son and who knows perhaps for himself. It shows us that we can follow God but sometimes we still pass through strife, heartache and difficulties of life.
The question for us is how should we respond as individuals and as Churches when those hard and difficult times come?
How should we respond when people betray us or plot against us, or judge and condemn us, or fail us in some way?
How should we respond when the smooth path, that we thought was light, suddenly becomes rocky and dark?
These are questions that many people have to ask themselves when they are diagnosed with HIV. These are also questions for families and friends when they realise their loved ones are HIV positive. These are also questions for Churches who minister to people who are living with HIV or affected by it in some way.
These are questions for all of us. How should we respond when life goes wrong?
The response of the church has been a mixed one when we look at the history of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. We have travelled from responding with condemnation and silence to a place where we are finding better ways to respond.
David finds that he has to deal with loss and betrayal and violence. He responds by mourning his loss but eventually he responds by turning to God and continuing in his life journey, still worshipping and still loving his nation. David can do this because he has hope. He doesn’t try to answer the very difficult questions about why and how and who is to blame. Instead he grieves for his son and then turns to the needs of the nation. He is still King. He is still a man after God’s own heart and he is still loved by God.
And in this perhaps there are some lessons for us about how we should respond when we realise we are HIV positive, or our families and friends are HIV positive, or our congregation members are HIV positive. We need to find ways of responding to the harsh circumstances of life, but to do so with hope, just as King David did.
The question is…… how will you respond?
To think about: How will you respond when life goes wrong?
Written By: Revd Ijeoma Ajibade, Honorary Minor Canon, Southwark Cathedral, London, UK
Author: Ajibade I (Rev)