Today, Chuck Swindoll explains how to recover from a crisis. One of the most pathetic scenes on earth is a child of God who is sitting in the corner, licking his wounds in self-pity. If you think it takes grace to go through the crisis, when you get to the end of it and it's time to recover and move on, that's where you'll really need the grace. I will go on. I will pick up the pieces.
In fact, I will be, by God's grace, more wiser and more effective than I was before it all happened. No family is perfect. Every mom, every dad has flaws and imperfections. And sometimes those regrettable flaws get passed on from one generation to the next. The sinful blemishes on our character show up in the profiles of our sons and daughters.
Maybe it's anger, perhaps a broken marriage, maybe an indiscretion. Today on Insight for Living, we find King David dealing with the consequences of his moral failure as he watches his sin play out in the lives of his children. What's the key to recovery? Chuck Swindoll titled today's message Riding Out the Storm. How do you ride out the storm? When it's somebody else that caused it or when you have caused it and you're reaping the whirlwind, what do you do?
How do you handle it? Second Samuel chapter 12, David answers it for us. Vicariously, we enter into his experience.
And the result is tragic. Not only was David affected, but innocent people who stood by became affected. Now let me show you how he acknowledged the sowing in verses 13 and 14. David said to Nathan, 2 Samuel 12, 13, I have sinned against the Lord.
He acknowledged the sowing. Nathan said to David, the Lord has taken away your sin. You shall not die. Verse 14 begins, however, there's a whirlwind. Because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die. Now I find in David's response four helpful guidelines for us to follow today when we go through the whirlwind.
Number one, pray. Verse 15, Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. As a matter of fact, the scripture says he inquired for the child.
What does that mean? Look down to verse 22. He said, while the child was still alive, I fasted and wept for I said, who knows?
Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me that the child may live. So first he prayed. And second, notice that David faced the consequences realistically. He is an amazing and amazingly mature person.
Look at his response. Verse 18, he faces the consequences realistically. Then it happened on the seventh day.
By the way, don't let that go by unnoticed. Seven days he was in prayer, fasting, and virtually alone. On the seventh day, it happened that the child died and the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead since he might do himself harm? They were afraid of a suicide, frankly. They looked upon his soul searching time as a deep depression. And they said, when we lay this final weight on him, he'll harm himself.
How can we tell him? Now look at this realistic response on David's part. When David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived the child was dead.
Now mark this. David said to his servants, is the child dead? And they said, he is dead. So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. And he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. David, who's been seven days on the ground waiting on God, inquiring of God, placing himself at God's disposal, abandoning himself, throwing down the rod, letting God do with it as he pleased, now heard the words, the child is dead.
He got up, took a shower, changed his clothes, went to the house of God, and that's when he worshiped. Third, we are to claim the truths of scripture. If ever you want to get into the word of God, you want to do it when crisis happens. You cannot let your emotions be your guide or you will do something rash or foolish. David settled his case with God and he rested in the truth of God's word.
Let me show you. See verse 21? His servants couldn't understand him. And so they said, what is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but when the child died, you arose and ate food. His response, while the child was still alive, I fasted and wept for I said, who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me that the child may live.
By the way, that's what you do during the first period of the consequence. You don't deny. You keep thinking maybe there's hope. Maybe it won't happen. Maybe the Lord will give me great grace and will not bring this disaster as I see it appearing.
Maybe he will let me have the child or let me have this situation. Verse 23, but now, now look at the truth he claims. He has died. He faces it. He accepts it. He does not deny it.
He says, this has happened. Why should I fast? How many people continue to fast after death thinking maybe somehow I can get them back? Or they begin to make plans to contact a medium so they can somehow communicate with the dead. It's an unbiblical route to take.
How many take it? The child of God when he faces the fact concerning death says it's permanent. I cannot bring the person back. I will not deny it. And in the comfort and counsel of God's word, I will rely on him to get me through this crisis.
And look at how David puts it. It's a great verse, by the way. It's one of the few passages that help us know about the destiny of children that die. Twenty-three, can I bring him back again?
Implied, no. I can't bring the dead child back. I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. There is promise. If you have lost an infant, if the child has died in days of infancy, this verse says you cannot bring the child back, but you will see that child in heaven. You will see that living creature, that gift from God that he gave you and for reasons known only to him he took from you.
I cannot bring him back, but I can go to him. If I could lift this from the study of a little child and make it broader, I would say much more right now about Christians who face death. If ever a child of God is tempted to be very sloppy and operate on the basis of poor doctrine, it is when death happens.
It's amazing. As a minister of the gospel, I deal with all sorts of individuals who seem to sort of lose touch with scripture when death happens. You know that there is a funeral home in the Los Angeles basin that will in fact embalm a body sitting up? And if it's a man, they'll put a smoker on him, a robe on him, put a pipe in his hand and have a fireplace nearby and you can come and you can talk.
It's a one-way conversation, but you can come. Can you imagine? You cannot believe how many parents forced the child to kiss the corpse.
You would not believe it. As a matter of fact, I think one of the best things you can do, and forgive me if this is offensive to a few of you, the best thing you can do when death happens is to close the casket, nail it shut, never open it again. I don't know of a funeral director on earth that I've ever met who was able to make the body look alive. The last living memory is that corpse. I want to tell you what to do when I die, in case my wife forgets, I know I've told her, put me in a very cheap casket.
No bronze, no gold, close it, never open it again and bury it. Absent from the body is to be face to face with the Lord and people of God, will you, for the Lord's sake, glorify him whether by life or by death? Will you ask God during these days of living to give you the grace to think through how you want it to happen and to plan it out so that you make an intelligent decision rather than just an emotional one? David said, while the child lived, he and I were together, I could love him, be with him.
Now that he is gone, I cannot bring him back. The Lord has taken away, blessed be his name. After claiming the truth of scripture, it is amazing the stability you will have.
It's amazing. Now the fourth principle, and I think it's the best of the four, is refuse to give up, go on. Your tendency when in the scars and suffering of the backwash is to say, I am through. I am finished with living.
Life isn't worth it any longer. But look, friends, look at verse 24. David comforted his wife Bathsheba so they went through a period of grief, absolutely. They wept, they had the service for the child and whatever they did in the culture of that day, they did it.
And then it says, he went on living. He went into her, he lay with her, she gave birth to a son. They called the son's name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet and he named him Jedediah for the Lord's sake.
Back with his wife, another child, walking with the Lord as he did in days past. Beautiful response. One of the most pathetic scenes on earth is a child of God who is sitting in the corner, licking his wounds in self-pity. If you think it takes grace to go through the crisis, when you get to the end of it and it's time to recover and move on, that's where you'll really need the grace. I will go on. I will pick up the pieces. I will get back on target. I will move back into society. I will carry on as I did before.
In fact, I will be, by God's grace, wiser and more effective than I was before it all happened. David, in riding out the storm, gives us some beautiful guidelines. He prayed. He faced the consequences realistically. He turned it all over to the Lord completely as he claimed the scriptural truth concerning death and then he refused to give up. He moved on. I would like to wind up our time together by giving you four guidelines that begin with the words riding out the storm.
Sort of as a final capstone of what we've learned tonight. Riding out the storm, first of all, is a lonely experience. You will never be more alone emotionally than when you are in the whirlwind of consequences. You will want others to help you and they can't. They will want to be there. They will care, but only you can go through it in that manner.
It's a lonely experience. Second, riding out the storm is a learning experience. Psalm 32 says, be not as the horse or as the mule that has to be led with bit and bridle. In other words, be sensitive. God says, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go.
I will guide you with my eye upon you. So during the time of riding out the storm, stay sensitive to what God is saying. Riding out the storm is a learning experience.
Number three, riding out the storm, thank God, is a temporary experience. There is a person right now in our church who is going through the most difficult time in her life. She is what we would call the innocent partner in the experience. She's going through deep emotional trauma at this time.
She feels desperately alone. She's trying to learn what the Lord is teaching, but as she said to me just in the overflow of her heart this morning, it seemed like it will never, ever end. But believe me, the whirlwind is a temporary experience. You will feel like it will never end, but it will. He'll see you through it.
It'll end. Now the fourth, riding out the storm is a humbling experience. Deuteronomy 8 verse 2 says, you shall remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness to humble you, to test you, to show what was in your heart. In fact, it says in Deuteronomy 8 verse 3 that the Lord humbled you, speaking to Israel. In fact, it says he humbled them and refused to give them something to eat. During that time, he starved them out. When you go through the whirlwind, you will find that it's not a fruitful time in your life. It's a barren time. It's a harsh time.
The final lesson that we're to learn is that we're to take God seriously. He means what he says. I have a close personal friend that I went to high school with, and he was quite a rugged guy. As a matter of fact, he played the rough sports. He owned an outboard motor boat with a 50 horsepower motor on it that in those days was incredibly large. It's a little old 12-foot boat that he used to spin all around Galveston in, preferably at night. And when the moon came up, he was like the wolf man. He was out on that boat just zinging all around, having the time of his life and just sort of taking life as he pleased. Suddenly one night, the boat flipped over and he wound up the jetties hanging on for his life. And as the surf would come in and as it would recede, he just was sort of scraped up and down these rocks. And I remember his telling the story that he cried out to God and he said, God, if you preserve my life, I'll serve you.
I promise you. And wouldn't you know it, a few minutes later actually the Coast Guard, making its round, heard his cries and put the searchlight on him and rescued him. He quickly forgot that promise. His body healed, but the scars remained. And he told me that as he would towel off after a shower, just a glance in the mirror was more than he could take, just a mute reminder that he hadn't taken God seriously. He turned away from it and continued to live his own way and began to go with a girl, Houston, and they became very close. And one night, late as they were driving, they had a head-on collision.
She died. He was driven through the windshield, deep red scar, thankful to be alive, but that scar marked his face. When he got out of surgery and when he was back on his feet, he told the Lord he would keep his word. He said, I'll take you seriously. And he's today preaching the gospel, a minister declaring God's truth. He said, every time I comb my hair, every time I put on my tie, every time I towel off after a shower, I'm reminded you got to take God seriously.
Some of you this very moment are playing with God. And I want you to know that he plays for keeps. He takes your walk seriously whether you do or not.
He never deals lightly with his children, even when they're riding out the storm. Let's bow together, shall we? We've covered a lot of ground in this study. Some of you are under conviction.
It's obvious from your face. Others of you rest in God's great grace. Some of you seem bewildered. Some of you are hurting. You're doing your best to pray and to face the consequences realistically and it's just almost all you can do to stay on top. And I want you to know God understands.
He cares. He's met with us this evening to help encourage some who need it. He has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, the clouds or the dust of his feet. If you've never met the Lord Jesus Christ, I say tonight that he stands ready to take you into his care. If you, by faith, like a little child, will receive him now. Children of God, as you are in the midst of your wilderness, take heart.
It's temporary. He'll see you through. He'll see you through. Very grateful, our Father, that in meeting around the Word of God, in a very real sense, we have gotten your counsel as though we have been sitting at your feet.
David has provided for us an example, but Christ is the best of all. Though he were a son, he learned obedience by the things he suffered. There are those who hurt, our Father, and in the hurting experience, there is often confusion, bewilderment, panic, shock. At whatever level you find us, I pray that your Holy Spirit will be our assistance and our encouragement, our comforter, our guide.
Minister through friends and family, through the mates whose hearts are with you, and in the time that passes between now and the next time we're together, I pray there might be increased healing for those who hurt. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that I ask this. Amen. Retelling the story that's recorded for us in 2 Samuel chapter 12, you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. He titled today's message, Riding Out the Storm. To learn more about Chuck Swindoll and this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. It's possible that today's edition of Insight for Living has stirred up a renewed desire to face some difficult issues in your life. And if you're prepared to take your next steps in following God's plan, Insight for Living offers a variety of free resources to guide you.
So while it's fresh on your mind, please take advantage of these practical tools. One of those resources allows you to catch up with any of Chuck's messages you may have missed. Listen directly from our website or by downloading the convenient mobile app.
You can even subscribe to the daily podcast so that Insight for Living automatically downloads into your mobile device. All the details for listening can be found at insight.org slash ways to listen. In addition, Chuck wrote a highly requested biography called David, a man of passion and destiny. Chuck's book would make a great summer read because almost like a novel, it clearly describes the dramatic arc of David's story, the highs and lows of his life, including the valuable lessons he learned in the aftermath of his mistakes.
To purchase a copy of Chuck's biography on David, give us a call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or visit our website at insight.org slash offer. As God nudges you to give a donation to this nonprofit ministry, we encourage you to follow his prompting. Many people find themselves in the middle of the wind and rain and lightning and thunder, and they need a reassuring word from God for guidance, comfort, and hope. God can use your gift to restore someone who's riding out a storm. To give a contribution today, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash donate. Treat yourself to a vacation you'll never forget on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to the great frontier with Chuck Swindoll. Honestly, I had no idea that a cruise to Alaska could be so much fun, and without a doubt the stunning views took my breath away. God's artistic genius is on full display in Alaska. In fact, I guarantee this, you'll come home refreshed and filled with awe for his majestic creation. Yeah, at one point our ship was getting chased by dolphins.
They were playing and spinning in the waves. It was amazing. You'll have plenty of time for adventures on shore, lingering conversations around mealtime, and strolling through the idyllic ports of call. You'll be a part of some of the best parts of our day, laughing, singing, and celebrating our God. Plan to come with us, won't you?
The dates are July 1st through July 8th, 2023. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444, or visit insight.org slash events.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll describes the exceptional value of friendship, right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Writing Out the Storm, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited. This message is not meant to replace proper medical or therapeutic treatment advice.
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