“And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David: and Uriah the Hittite died also.”
2 Samuel 11: 17
King James Version
“Bathsheba: The Grieving Widow”
“And let their widows trust in me.”
Jeremiah 49: 11
King James Version
How has the emotion of grief touched my life?
If I have lost my husband, how has this loss affected or changed my life?
Why have you let this happen?
Why did you forsake us?
Creator – why uncreate?
Redeemer – why destroy wholeness?
Source of love – why rip away
The one I loved so utterly?
Why? Why, O God?
In this pit of darkness,
Hollowed out by grief and screaming,
I reach out to the one I loved
And cannot touch.
Where are you, God?
Where are you,
In my wounds
Which are also yours?
As I hurl at you
My aching rage and bitterness
And stay here
Until this hacked-off stump of my life
Discovers greenness again.”
“Your absence fills the room, this house, my heart
I hear your stilled voice clearly in my head.
I am afraid I will lose the sound of your laughter.
I bury my face in your old sweater, inhale its scent.
I want to sit with you and talk, to touch your arm,
To watch your hand lift a cup to your lips.
If I find my way out of desolation, I am afraid
I will move too far away from you. I am trapped.
O God, I cry, I am unprepared. It is too much.
O God, I cry, I do not want to do this.
O God, I must give myself up to grief.
I am forced to wait for grief to do its work,
To help me bear what I cannot bear;
To trust that when the awful grief is done,
And a more gentle heartache settles in
Through grace, I will be made a new creation, the fruit of sorrow.”
Mrs. Shirley Bynum Smith
She was a young woman, married to a brave and bold soldier. And she was pregnant. Alone at her home with her thoughts and the child that was growing inside her. I wonder what might have been going through Bathsheba’s mind, as she began to recognize the situation she was in.
Since women at this time in history had little to say about matters, even in their own lives, I doubt Bathsheba knew anything about the plan David had hatched-up to get Uriah out of his way.
The Bible does tell us that David sent for Uriah out on the battlefield, ordering him to come home. Then David insisted that Uriah go see his wife, Bathsheba, even going so far as trying to get the couple into an intimate situation which would get David off-the-hook and lead others to believe the baby Bathsheba was carrying was Uriah’s, not his.
Unfortunately, for David, Uriah was committed and honorable and with his fellow soldiers at war, he would not break away to enjoy marital intimacy while those he fought with were putting their lives on the line. It is very likely Bathsheba never knew her husband was even in town, and if, perchance, she heard through the city grapevine that Uriah was at the palace, she may well have surmised he was carrying a message to the king.
How Bathsheba inevitably found out about the death of Uriah, her husband, we are not told. But since the Bible makes it clear that Uriah was a loyal warrior, it makes sense that the death of this fine man, whom we learned was a convert to the Israelite nation fighting diligently for his king and country, brought sorrow to the heart of Bathsheba. One could say that Uriah may have been saved a great deal of sorrow himself as the Bible doesn’t make mention of him knowing anything about the baby conceived by David and Bathsheba’s relationship. How tragic if he had found out that not only had his king betrayed him but his wife, too.
Once Bathsheba heard the terrible news, the Bible does convey her deep sorrow in 2 Samuel 11: 26, “And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.”
In the Hebrew, the word “mourned” as used in this text, is an extremely strong word, showing great grief: “To tear the hair and beat the breasts, to lament and by implication to wail.”
Great mourning, of the kind described above, is frequently witnessed after the death of a loved one in this cultural setting. Today, however, here in the United States especially, grief is frequently contained in more subtle ways. However, no matter how grief is externally expressed, a lonely, broken heart that bears the pain of the loss of a beloved can be, not only devastating, but also incapacitating. Especially when the individual who passes is a dearly loved spouse. I know what I’m saying for I witnessed the profound sorrow my mother endured when my father dropped dead suddenly of a massive heart attack, in his 50’s. And I also saw how painful it was for my dear father-in-law to have to watch the decline of his beloved wife Zoila who succumbed to cancer.
As I have read your notes and emails over the last few months, I’ve found that the evil hand of death has struck too frequently and with too much force, breaking hearts and dashing dreams to bits. I find these words penned by Penelope Lively to be a correct description of the sorrow that attends the death of one we love: “Grief-stricken. Stricken is right; it is as though you had been felled. Knocked to the ground; pitched out of life and into something else.” As one poet wrote, “There are some griefs so loud, they could bring down the sky, and there are griefs so still, none knows how deep they lie.”
Perhaps today, your heart is broken by the power of grief. Whether the grief you suffer is a sharp-stabbing pain, a lingering ache, or a deep, inexpressible anguish, the words of the Apostle Paul, to his church friends in Thessalonica, were a balm to my crushed heart, especially the first few hours after finding out that my dear father had died. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words (I Thessalonians 4: 16-18, K.J.V.).
I especially love the part of this passage that says, “Comfort one another with these words,” or as the Greek states: “To call near, to pray for and bring consolation to one another with these words.” How wonderful to know that by praying for each other, we can reach out and give a hand of comfort to someone whose heart is weeping.
Until that day, when our Father promises that, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7: 17, Amplified Bible), I’m thankful to know that this same Father was the one David wrote about in Psalm 23 - - “The Shepherd’s Psalm” - - where he said, “Yes, though I walk through the deep, sunless valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod to protect and Your staff to guide, they comfort me.” (Amplified Bible)
We Did Not Want It Easy, God
“We did not want it easy, God,
But we did not contemplate
That it would be quite this hard,
This long, this lonely.
So, if we are to be turned inside out,
And Upside down,
With even our pockets shaken
Just to check what’s rattling
And left behind,
We pray that you will keep faith with us,
And we with you,
Holding our hands as we weep.
Giving us strength to continue,
And showing us beacons
Along the way
To becoming new.”
The Wilderness of Quiet
And let thy widows trust in me.
Jeremiah 49: 11
She explains that she “is alone now,”
That she’s used to shopping for a family.
But now all is quiet. All is in order –
The stairs swept, the ironing basket empty.
There is a wilderness that is all quiet, all order –
Nothing but the desert of daily routine:
The mailman comes at noon.
Wednesday is trash day.
Satan sneaks in at 5:00 bringing despair.
Should she just bow out – quietly?
No, Angels guard her choices:
The paperboy, the sparrows on the walk.
Maybe they’ll be hungry.
Maybe for the paperboy she should leave cookies.
For the sparrows she thinks
She’ll scatter bread crumbs
Made from this morning’s toast.
The sparrows’ “chip-chip” enters upon the silence;
Then the paperboy rings his bike bell
As he calls out, “Thanks.”
Mrs. Rosamond Rosenmeier
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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