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frayed_ropeThey say the 2nd year for the widow is the hardest because the denial is gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true with other catastrophic losses.  I didn’t think I was in denial — in fact, when Dr. Dobson interviewed me about a year after Steve died, I even said I hadn’t experienced denial. (I was in denial about denial.)

I didn’t realize I was in denial until I finally went for counseling. I told Sheila about a dream I had had before each of my daughter’s weddings (they all married within three years after Steve’s death). I dreamt that I drove up to the church, alone, and Steve pulled up right next to me. I said, “You aren’t dead!”

He said, “No! I just thought you were really mad and I was giving you some space. But I’m back and I’m going to walk her down the aisle and I’ll never go away again.”

Sheila said: “Dee, you have to accept that though one day you will go to Steve, he will never come back here to you.”

I thought, “Am I really so crazy that I thought he might?” I realized, somehow, I did. I thought if I got through enough hard nights and days then he would come back to me. I felt like a madwoman.

When a loss is so great, denial is a way of protecting you. But in time, you must let go of the lies, or you will never be able to speak the truth to your soul.

We may be in denial about loss, about our sin, about the false idols of our hearts. We’re holding on because letting go seems so hard. But unless we let go, we can never grab the rope that will, indeed, hold us.

1. Looking back in your life, when have you been in denial about the truth, and how did holding onto that frayed rope hurt you?

2. We’re going to look at David as a model. How was he in denial about his sin with Bathsheba? 2 Samuel 11-12:1-7

3. How did Nathan’s word picture turn the light on for him? Why do you think word pictures can be effective where reasoning fails? (This is one of the reasons the psalms are so effective.)

4. Psalm 51 is David’s psalm of letting go of the lies and coming in true repentance. Read it. Sing it if you know a song to go with it (or share one with us). Share your reflections particularly on verse 4 and any other verses that stand out to you.

5. Pray through Psalm 51, making it your own.

6.  What hard consequences were given to David because of his sin? 2 Samuel 12:7-15?

7. Look carefully at how David responded in 2 Samuel 12:16-24.  What did he do that surprised the servants? How does this show he was grabbing onto the truth? What do you think verse 23 means?

8. To what lies are you clinging?

Lord, I pray for each woman or man reading this, pondering your truth. Search us, O Lord, and see what lies are in our hearts — the ways we are resisting Your truth, because it seems hard. Show us who the real liar is, who deceives us so we are not in fellowship with You. Be with each of us, precious Jesus.

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  1. I have been in denial over the loss of a close relationship with any of my family of origin. I love them all so much, but I’m having to face the fact that they aren’t able to love me in the way I’d like for them to. I’m having to turn to the Body of Christ to be my sister and parent and aunt, etc.

    It is extremely hard because they live close enough for us to get together. They just don’t want to or find reasons why they can’t. The lies were so much easier on my heart. It was easier to give them excuses for their behaviour than it has been to admit the truth.

    However, the lies prevent me from healing and having peace. The false belief that things will suddenly work out just set me up for more disappointments and heartache. The wound can’t heal when it’s repeatedly being torn back open. (Hope this all makes sense)

  2. 1.. Looking back in your life, when have you been in denial about the truth, and how did holding onto that frayed rope hurt you?

    I have been in denial of the fact that I can’t make my own life better… must rely on God to do that sort of work. This is the reason why the study here is such a blessing at this point in my life because I am seeking God and trusting in Him on an entirely new level. I better ignore my feelings that lie to me and tell me that I am unloved or unacceptable to God and see Christ through the storm clouds.

    4. Psalm 51 is David’s psalm of letting go of the lies and coming in true repentance. Read it. Sing it if you know a song to go with it (or share one with us). Share your reflections particularly on verse 4 and any other verses that stand out to you.

    The language describing God in the first verse stood out to me as I read this Psalm tonight.

    “Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
    according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.”

    In the face of my sin, I see by the descriptions here that HE is all I am not. He is what I long for so much. Though I’ve failed, His love is unfailing. His compassion is great. He is merciful. It makes me feel so tiny before Him yet so enveloped in love. I need forgiveness and restoration, with no right to ask for it. Only because He is merciful and unfailing in love and great in compassion may I seek it and have faith as sure as I know He exists that I will receive it.

    7. Look carefully at how David responded in 2 Samuel 12:16-24.
    What did he do that surprised the servants? How does this show he
    was grabbing onto the truth? What do you think verse 23 means?

    David stopped fasting once the child had died, went about his normal routine of washing and eating and went to worship God.

    I’m rather confused by what this means… perhaps had he known that God had forgiven him since He acknowledged his sin (verse thirteen) and worshipped God anew? Or did he realize that his hope that his son would live was false and is now grabbing onto what is real (hope in God)?

    8. To what lies are you clinging?

    I’ve been clinging to the lie that I can please God myself. I need the grace of Christ, and am finding it lately in such a rich supply.

    I’ve also been (and still often am) wasting time in examining what has happened to me and trying to figure all of it out instead of simply trusting God to go forward. I don’t want to bury the hurt because when I do that it comes back to bite me (problems of denial) but I need a better way to deal with it. I know God will provide the way. But it is up to me to say “yes”. Please pray that I’ll continue saying “yes” more strongly.

    1. Tracy, it sounds like you’re well on the way to healing! I’ve said a prayer for you to continue to face the hard things in your life and turn to God to meet all your needs.

      1. Thank you very much. God bless you!

  3. Wow, it’s been well over a week since I’ve posted on here. I’ve been doing the studies, though, and they are a blessing. My life is overrun with stressors. Sometimes the tide overwhelms me, pulls me under. All I can do is hang on to the promises of God and wait for the tide to recede! Like the song says:

    Though sorrows like sea billows roll.
    Whatever my lot,
    Thou hast taught me to say,
    “It is well, it is well with my soul!”

    Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (New Living Translation)

    Praise God!

  4. #2. We’re going to look at David as a model. How was he in denial about his sin with Bathsheba? 2 Samuel 11-12:1-7

    v5-6: Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

    As king, David was used to “passing judgement” on people who oppressed others like the man in the story Nathan told him. David felt the man deserved to die, but all the while he was denying what he had done that was much worse than this!

    How often do I get “up on my high horse” about how someone is acting? “Well! How dare they!” Like David, I need to remember the saying, “When I’m pointing my finger at someone, there are 4 fingers pointing back at me.” I need to acknowledge the sin in my own life and quit denying it!

    1. David loved God and God especially loved David. When David’s desire for Bathsheba became stronger than his desire to please God, he did something really stupid … and evil … sending Uriah to the front, setting him up to be killed. This did not make God happy. So when God sent Nathan to David, David realized that his misdeeds had not escaped God’s attention. He knew God well and knew that God would impose consequences, as Nathan said. But, because he knew God well, he also knew God’s forgiving grace and hoped that by prayer and fasting God might change his mind. In vs. 16-17 David is 100% focused on begging God to change his mind.

      In vs 18-19 the child dies. David’s begging seemed fruitless. Because he knew and loved God, he accepted God’s will and moved on. His servants, who did not have the knowing that David possessed, couldn’t understand the behavior because they related David’s behavior to his relationship with his son, not to David’s relationship with God. David answers their questions by saying that the boy was dead and there was nothing he could do to bring him back to him, so David would go on living until his own death when he would meet his son again.

      But David’s prayerful plea to God was not fruitless. God blessed his repentance with another son, Solomon, whose life exemplified the wisdom David had shown in his response to Nathan’s exposure of David’s sin. And the Lord loved them both.

      I love this story because I mess up so many times. Sometimes my sins seem as big as this sin of David’s. Many times I have purposefully “murdered” someone’s spirit with cutting words or actions. And I feel fully justified in doing so. Then I’ll discover a new fact that exposes my error, just like Nathan exposing David’s sin. The consequences of my error are often severe and I’ve often found myself pleading with God to make this go away. But it usually doesn’t and I have to deal with it and move on. And, with time, I can praise the Lord and offer thanksgiving for the blessing that has come from this blunder. And the Lord loves me, too.

      1. Every time I read this account in 2 Sam.12:16-24, I am struck by how much David loves God. I agree with what Janet says, and I love how you put that, “His servants…related David’s behavior to his relationship with his son, not to David’s relationship with God.” Isn’t this a perfect picture of the relationship God longs to have with us?

        So often, when I beg God to do this or that and, in His divine providence He says no, I mourn over the loss of “my-own-will-be-done.” I need to take David’s example and accept God’s answer and keep moving in my Christian walk.

        I’m raising 2 grandsons and we have some stressful times at the hands of their birth parents. I always tell them, “God never puts anything in front of us without providing the grace to live a godly life in the middle of the turmoil.” This story of David in 2 Samuel is a good example of that.

  5. I am impressed with the difference between David and Saul. When Saul was confronted with his sin, he made excuses. David was broken. He was able in his humility to receive God’s righteousness. Saul had only his own righteousness which was filthy rags.

    In 2 Sam 12:14 Nathan prophesied that the baby would die because of David’s contempt toward God in the matter of Uriah, but that David would not die. Much greater judgment had already been prophesied but because he repented God also repented part of the judgment. When the baby died David accepted it as God’s righteous judgment and his fellowship with God was restored. I think this is what we see in Ps 51. He was a man after God’s own heart not because he was ‘good’ but because he loved God. His bones were crushed by being out of fellowship.

    Could it be that the pain of grief is amplified by the simple sin of believing lies which cause us to be out of fellowship with God? This may open a huge can of worms because the human heart is a master at denial. We do it without even realizing it as Dee did for the first year after Steve’s death.

  6. I’m sorry about above comment. I don’t think it is right, not to mention it is insensitive. I’m very sorry.

  7. In my own case, I know that some of my own grief and misery has been caused by my action of looking more at pain than at God, which resulted in me not being in as close a fellowship with Him.

  8. How do I know when or if fasting/praying/pleading with God for someone’s healing is denial? I often err in the other direction. . . not pleading for healing because I know the typical course of a disease. If the person isn’t getting better, could it be because I haven’t prayed very much?

    I’m wondering when/if it’s appropriate to “give up” and accept impending death vs begging God for healing. . . How might I seek to 1) rest in God and accept His will, 2) not be in denial, 3) be faithful in prayer (for healing?) for someone who is declining rapidly, all at the same time??

      1. I have just read Ann’s coment on David in terms of the ‘sin of believing lies’. I would be inclined to see denial around loss of a loved one (my husband died 4months ago) as a protection against the pain until I am more able to face the reality of his absence..’unyeilding absence’ is how one person described it….rather than believing a lie which seems to carry a judgmental approach to my grief…this week I read a quote from C.S. Lewis’ book: ‘A Grief Observed’ and it seems to help me understand my going in circles – so to speak: “In grief, nothing “stays put”. One keeps emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I’m on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?” The other thought about keeping us from being intimate with God I do believe can happen. The other quote (hope it’s alright to do quotes!!) that helped me was from Philip Yancey’s Disappointment with God. “One bold message in the book of Job is that you can say anything to God. Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment — he can absorb them all. I tend to think I am feeling lack of closness to God these past few weeks (and I have often felt very close to him) because I am so busy tossing all this stuff to him, and while I’m busy doing that, I can’t listen to what he may want to say to me!! I have enjoyed reading what all you ladies are saying – today is my first time at trying to share something of myself and my experience of grief.

    1. Renee, I struggle much with your question, too. But more and more I am finding my way to a sense of the “non-timeness” of our eternal Father. This is hard to put into words but I’ll take a shot at it.

      While we think that time is of the essence in our prayer for healing, God is in the before and the after, all of which are the eternal now. God didn’t say “I Was” or “I Will Be”, but “I Am”. It seems to me that all the prayers anyone has ever prayed or ever will pray for a person, are wrapped around that person in the Eternal Now. We see that person’s healing as getting over a sickness (whether of mind, body or soul)or escaping death for a brief time. Perhaps – and this is a really big perhaps – the healing that God “sees” is the healing of the soul of the pray-er. The big question in that is, What does “healed” mean to God? (Jesus often healed by saying, “Your sins are forgiven”, making the condition of the soul more in need of healing than the ailment.) Is the dying person in the process of true healing by making that final surrender to the Eternal Presence? Is our pleading with God our best shot at connecting our love for the person in need with the indwelling love of Christ? Those moments of selflessness on our part may be the closest we ever get to the true love of Christ. God probably likes that a lot. Does all that make any sense?

      1. Yes, it makes sense! Janet and Dee, I appreciate both of your responses. I do see that part of my confusion is because I’ve learned so much from so many people, mostly good stuff! — but I’m seeing that some of my confusion related to denominational differences.

        I also get stuck in my little human perspective. Just when I’m thinking that I’m starting to have a more eternal perspective and have been recognizing that this life is temporary, I trip over circumstances and land right in the middle of my mixed up humanity.

        For the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering more about what the Bible says about life after death. What passages of Scripture are the best places to start? Anyone have another (Bible-based) book to recommend? I’ve been thinking of ordering “Surprised by Hope” by N.T.Wright but haven’t ordered it yet.

        Thanks again, Janet and Dee! I do see God at work in the soul of the pray-er :). And I know that the person for whom I’m praying will receive complete and eternal healing by the Great Physician; I also know that He loves me, even if I have separation anxiety!

        1. Hi Renee
          My pastor’s chosen title for yesterday’s morning sermon was ‘Is There Life After Death? The focal scripture was Job 14:13-17. Other scriptures shared were:
          Hebrews 9:27
          Job 19:25-29
          2 Corinthians 5:1-10

          I just checked my personal library to see if I have a book I could recommend. Max Lucado wrote ‘When Christ Comes:the beginning of the very best’ I had it marked where I had stopped. Looks like I need to take it up again. I also recommend Philip Yancey’s ‘Rumors of Another World’. It’s not about life after death but it’s a good read. Anything by Yancey is a good read. He makes you think and face what you honestly believe.
          The following is the final quote from ‘Rumor of Another World’.

          So now, from this mad passion
          Which made me take art for an idol and a king I have learnt the burden of error that it bore
          And what misfortune springs from man’s desire… The world’s frivolities have robbed me of the time That I was given for reflecting upon God.

          On Thursday nite Mar 4 I begin The God of All Comfort Study at church. It will be led by one of our silent sisters. She has shared with me how much this blog has helped her prepare to lead the study.

        2. I agree that anything by Yancey is a good read! I’ll flip through some of his work—and read the Scripture passages. Thanks!

  9. Rene thanks for your question & for Dee’s & Janet’s reply..Janet the depth of your reply is a blessing… I have to remind myself of eternity & our God being an eternal God in all things.
    Reading some of study replies it is as if you’re all drawing out the narrow of God’s word for every bit of nourishment a soul requires for this journey. (Hope don’t mind the interjection from the gallery). While nourishing your own souls you bring the richest of morsels for many others. Thank you & glory to our Lord Jesus.
    Dee I finished your book & am very thankful for it, so much comes to mind in different conversations. I am about to lend it to a friend.
    bless you all.

  10. I’ve been pondering how to respond to Renee’s question. I appreciate Janet’s and Dee’s input. You’ve said it well! I like to read something light after I go to bed. Here is a quote from “Velma Still Cooks in Leeway” by V.H. Wright:

    “All prayers seem to do is help you face the God who’s about to do whatever he’s about to do. You feel helpless, but, in a strange way, cared for too.”

    I think, by the act of praying, we are acknowledging that there is someone bigger than us in charge here. Our prayers are more about communicating with God than about whether or not we can get Him to change His mind.

  11. I feel totally lost in this discussion of denial. My Kenny went Home to Heaven 8 months ago tomorrow. All of this is still so raw and such an open wound. God’s grace is what allows me to get out of bed every morning. Denial? I was with my husband as the ICU team tried to bring him back to life. I knew however that he was already worshiping in the presence of the King. For me, there never was an issue of denial. And I seem to not be getting this on a deeper level. Is it that when I sit and look at his picture…Thank you for listening. I appreciate you.

    1. Susan, My heart weeps for you. It has been 34 years since my husband died and I have been remarried to a wonderful man for 32 of those years. There are still times when I miss my dear Paul. The first year was so hard, and even though I knew he was joyously present with God in Heaven I still saw him in a crowd and even followed one man for 3 blocks because from the back he looked exactly like my husband. Could it have been a bad dream and he really was still alive? I hoped. Sometimes I would be asleep and feel and smell him in bed beside me. Was it really him? I hoped. Was I in denial? Sometimes I simply thought I was insane. One day I realized I couldn’t remember what his voice sounded like. I hunted through all my boxes, hoping I could find a tape recording of his voice. I NEEDED to hear his voice. And in all this craziness, our Good and Gracious God gifted me with my dear husband’s voice telling me everything was going to be OK. I never denied that Paul had died. I just hoped beyond any rational reasoning that some miraculous thing would happen and POOF! suddenly he would be back and we would live happily ever after, just as we had planned to do.

      Years later, when I realized that I could not have children, we adopted. But I never gave up hope that I would get the same miracle God gave Sarah and Rebekeh and Rachel. Was I in denial? Probably. Or was I in hope? Maybe. When menopause happened, I greived the loss of that hope for a miracle. Yet, still in a brief flash, to this day, at age 62, my mind whispers that Sarah was 100 years old when she gave birth. Denial could be my middle name! I prefer to call it hope. Perhaps that is the ultimate denial.

  12. Thank you Lord…this study has been point on for me….

    6. What hard consequences were given to David because of his sin? 2 Samuel 12:7-15?

    The death of his son. That is a striking picture of the cost of sin and how it can affect those who are innocent. Oh, that is a picture of God’s innocent Son, bearing the price of my sin!!! Sin is so, so destructive. David’s sin also brought destruction to his household and opened the door for that same sin to be repeated by his son. I am reminded of Hosea 8:7 (NIV)
    7 “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up.
    Or as the Message says,,, Look at them! Planting wind-seeds,
    they’ll harvest tornadoes.
    This phrase comes in the context of idolatry. It will be true for me as well. May I quickly count the cost. The harvest for sin is very great!!!. Oh, thank you Lord, that in You, there is strength to do the next right thing. From You comes the strength to do a U turn…right back to You.
    Oh I love this.
    Hosea 10:12 ESV 12(A) Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow ground,
    for it is the time to seek the LORD,
    that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
    May we be sowing the proper seed!!!

    1. Lynn, may I quote you on my blog? I have a devotional blog called Gloriadelia. http://www.gloriadelia.wordpress.com

      Really liked what you had to say. Gloris (that’s not a typo, that’s my name 🙂 )

  13. Someone else commenting from the gallery.

    Renee, Mark Buchanan’s book titled Things Unseen is a wonderful book about Heaven.

    Several years ago, I read another book titled Blessed Child. Can’t remember the author. A young boy was being used by God for healing others. He was brought to an older gentleman who was terminally ill. They spent several hours together. However, the gentleman did not ask for physical healing. When asked why he said, “Who says that a healed hand is more of a miracle than a healed heart.” Not sure if I have quote exactly right, but that was the essence of it.

    Blessings on you ladies.

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Will check out the books 🙂

        1. I ordered Buchanan’s book last night 🙂 and am listening to something by Randy Alcorn! Thanks for the suggestions.

  14. Hey just wanted all to know that there is a free audio book download of The Cost of Discipleship that we spoke of in the earlier weeks of this study. Also one of Piper’s. https://christianaudio.com/
    I am excited cuz I was wanting to read the Bonhoeffer!! Now I can listen. 🙂
    Love you all!

  15. 1. Looking back in your life, when have you been in denial about the truth, and how did holding onto that frayed rope hurt you?

    When I was married to my ex-husband-an emotionally destructive man, I did not want to admit to anyone I had made a mistake in marrying him. For many years I played the hypocrite putting on a smile pretending everything was okay. Meanwhile, the real me was living on the inside looking out yearning to be free. When the abuse escalated to physical harm I stepped over the border into insanity. I wrote in my prayer journal “God I know by his actions my husband does not love me but I am willing to live this way to honor You.” The Great Deceiver had twisted my mind. It was after I admitted I was in trouble to a trusted friend and asked for help through prayer that God began the process restoring my mind to right thinking.

    2.How was David in denial about his sin with Bathsheba?

    David wanted to deny he had slept with Bathsheba so he brought her husband Uriah home from war in hopes that he would have marital relations with his wife. Had Uriah done this David would not have had to face the reality that he had gotten another man’s wife pregnant. Nor would he have to consider his actions were punishable by death.

    3.How did Nathan’s word picture turn on the light for him?

    Being a former shepherd, David naturally had a tender heart for sheep. The thought of someone stealing another’s sheep was repulsive to David. His anger was righteous. Ironic it was at himself.

    Why do you think word pictures can be effective where reasoning fails?

    Word pictures can be effective where reasoning fails because one cannot attempt to persuade,with mere words, a person whose mind is ingrained with self-rightness. Word pictures have the ability to ‘paint the scene’ in greater depth. The right words, fitly chosen, can speak volumes.

    4.Reflections Ps. 51:4

    Against You, You only have I sinned,
    And done this evil in Your sight-
    That You may be found just when You speak,
    And blameless when You judge.

    David was anointed by God to be king when he was working as shepherd for his father Jesse. It was during those days he began building intimacy with God. David, most likely, pondered the Torah as he worked. I surmise that as David learned to fight and kill wild animals when they attacked his flock, he became desensitised to bloodshed. After slaying Goliath and fighting in Saul’s army, David was renown for his ability to kill great numbers of the enemy.
    David stepped over the border ‘into insanity’ when he ordered the death of Uriah. It seems to me that David looked at Uriah as an enemy who had to be gotten rid of. Death became the solution to the problem. Somewhere along his line of thinking got twisted and David set himself in God’s place. As king David was God’s representative on earth but, that did not give him the authority to kill an innocent man. David committed the ultimate evil. Satan’s sin. ‘I want to be God.’ David knew God had the right to execute justice and the consequence meted out would be deserved.

    6. What hard consequences were given to David because of his sin?

    1. Death would not depart from David’s house.
    2. Familial conflict would be constant.
    3. David’s wives would be taken by another man and it would be public knowledge.

    7. What did David do to surprise the servants? How does this show he was grabbing onto the truth? What do I think v.23 means?

    David surprised the servants because he did not respond ‘naturally’ to the news of his son’s death. The servants expected David to continue fasting as he mourned the death. Instead, by getting up, cleaning up, and worshiping, David taught the servants the lesson he had learned years earlier. “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD His God.” 1 Sam 30:6.
    God had been and would always be his source of strength in times of deep distress. David knew by the child’s death God had not changed His mind. David accepted the reality that nothing he did would bring his child back. Only in death would David see his son again.

  16. Unfortunately we have not had internet service this week so it’s good to be back on today. What great comments I have missed. I loved the perspective on healing from last week’s Annie Johnson Flint. It cleared things up a bit for me. I was sinking in despair when told I must not have had enough faith or God would have healed my dad.
    Also, I found myself in deep waters again yesterday when the corporation my husband has been with since college let him go. They have hardly had any work over the past year in his region. As you know, I have been out of work for six weeks. Thankfully God had prepared us over the past few years through Financial Peace University. I feel well equipped for this difficult situation since being part of this teaching and for that I am so thankful!

  17. I would like to add a reply to Susan, who lost her husband Kenny 8 months ago and feels lost in this discussion of denial. I think this is perfectly okay, too, as Dee said, because I don’t believe grief is a “one size fits all” experience. So many of us have shared our losses, some the death of a loved one, or the loss of a marriage through divorce and abandonment, the death of a dream for a child who is in prison,etc… We sometimes share or identify with another’s feelings, or perhaps learn something that may help us or someone else we know in the future. We are seeing how God is at work in each other’s lives, meeting each one of us at our point of need.

    I do not think I was ever in denial that my nephew was dead. It was always the first thought that entered my mind when I woke in the morning; Thomas is dead. An awful reality. What I struggled with most was believing what I knew to be true about God. Because I started to doubt that God was really good, and loving, to have let this happen to Thomas. And not only Thomas, but also to have allowed his dad to die accidentally from a fall, which only hurt my nephew even more. Both of them dying in a period of 17 months! And how could I run to God for comfort if I didn’t believe He was really good?

    Working through this study the past few weeks has helped me get back to the truth about God. That He is brokenhearted, too and shares my grief. I also struggled with doubting His love for me and His willingness to forgive me. I asked myself, how could I have been so stupid to not know how bad my nephew was (in his drug addiction) and all the ways that I failed him. All the things I was going to say, going to do. But then he died. And I thought how can God forgive me because I can’t go back and fix this, I can’t do anything differently now. Many things we have learned have helped me to replace truth for this lie. The hymns, the Scriptures we have studied, even this lesson on David’s forgiveness.

    I feel an overarching theme is that whatever our life circumstances are, we must be in a state of reality to hear from God. I keep thinking of a taped message I listened to years ago by Luci Swindoll, and she was speaking about her time of working at Exxon and how she had moved, I think, to California, and how she woke up one morning at 3am and just hated her job, her situation, everything about her life at that time. And she said that God spoke to her, saying ” I am a God of reality, I will meet you in the reality of where you are”.

    Anything, a lie we believe about God or ourselves, denial, doubt, sin, must be replaced with reality, with truth, because God connects with us in truth and honesty.

  18. #2. How was David in denial about his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11-12:1-7?

    As I read this passage, I wondered was David really “in denial”? Because he tried to hide, or cover-up, his adultery with Bathsheba and the consequences of her conceiving a child. He brings Uriah home from the battle and even gets him drunk, hoping that Uriah will go home and sleep with his wife, then Uriah will think the baby is his. But when Uriah shows more integrity than David, David arranges to have him killed in battle. Think of how Uriah even carried the letter, with his own death sentence written inside! David must have trusted Uriah that he wouldn’t look at the letter. I tried to think, what happened in David’s thinking that he thought he could hide his sin from God? He was working so very hard to cover his tracks.

    #3. How did Nathan’s word picture turn the light on for David?

    This word picture of a rich man taking the poor man’s only possession, his beloved little lamb, whom he loved, and killing it for food for a stranger evoked strong emotion from David, but when Nathan said “You are the man!” David saw how Bathsheba was the lamb he had taken away from Uriah.

    I also saw as I kept reading in 2 Samuel 12, that God said to David through Nathan: verses 7-8

    It is I who annointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
    I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!

    And verse 10: Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

    My thoughts on this is that David committed adultery with Bathsheba but also spiritual adultery against God. The great lengths David went to to get Bathsheba show that for awhile, she was above God in his heart. God said to David, “because you have despised Me…”

    But until David was ready to confront the reality of what he had done instead of trying to hide it, cover it, patch it over, he could not hear from God.

    Why do you think word pictures help when reasoning fails?

    It seem that David’s rational thinking was not functioning. David had known and walked intimately with God, yet he was deluded into thinking he could somehow fool God.

    Word pictures can express for us, or to us, what is in our heart, what we are feeling. Like all these images in the Psalms we have looked at.
    In a time of grief, we may not be able to study and dissect Scripture, but the laments and cries of the psalmists and their word pictures speak to us and comfort us and as I have learned, help me to dialogue with God.

  19. #4. Psalm 51:4

    David comes to terms with the reality of what he has done.

    “Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
    And done what is evil in Thy sight”

    Simplistic, no excuses, no rationalization.

    The whole of Psalm 51 that I like is that David does not get lost in self-pity or the “how can I forgive myself for what I have done”. That is the downward spiral I too often get into. David admits his sin, the enormity of it, yet keeps his focus steadily on this God who is compassionate, filled with lovingkindness, the God of his salvation, the One who is able to blot out his sins, to deliver him from bloodguilt.

    The word picture in verse 7, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”.

  20. Dee, this post has meant SO much to me this evening. I’ve been “fellowshipping” with you for hours now, reading your post, reading the scriptures, reading the comments and writing down much of it in my jounal.

    You asked, “…to what lies are you clinging?”

    Here’s my “rope”: drinking won’t hurt me or my family. The Lord’s been showing me that if I don’t let go of that lie, I could eventually hang myself with that “rope”.

    I’ve been masking some feelings that are hard to face by drinking alcohol. I’m mentioning this, although it’s not easy to do, because maybe someone might read this who’s doing the same thing.

    The rope I haven’t grasped completely is this: God is enough for me. I don’t always trust Him.

    The sign for “trust” in sign language looks like hanging onto a rope, one fist on top of the other, like in your picture above.

    I’ve been trusting the wrong rope. Thanks for reinforcing what God’s been so tenderly speaking to my soul, and thank you for helping me to agree with God about “who the real liar is.”

    1. Dear Adele,
      I really like what you said, “I’ve been trusting in the wrong rope.” Join the crowd (meaning lots of us on this blog)! I’ve spent so much of my life trusting in something besides God; using lots of other things for “comfort” and “escape.” The reality is that God is the only answer!

      I’m praying for you! I commend you for the courage it took to reach out. Keep in touch. Marlys

  21. oh, my! I wrote that comment over three times with three different emails because every time I posted it posted my avatar with it. I wanted to remain anonymous. Finally, the third try posted an anonymous avatar. whew! But when I check next day, there was my avatar again! I know a lot of great people have used their hurts and struggles in this area to help others, I wanted to also, but anonymously!

    Maybe God has a different plan? my,my,my…thanks for praying for me, though. Really appreciate the support.

    1. I just now read your post and want to tell you that I am praying for you. God bless you for your honesty, I know people will be helped by your post.