The Aftermath

by Joanna Deffner on February 26, 2020

…And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth…David perceived that the child was dead…Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped… (II Samuel 12:15–16, 19–20, KJV).

Have you ever teetered on a moment in time between the past, present, and future? A time seemingly frozen in place when you’ve made a decision only to pray with fleeting urgency that God would allow you to go back in time to reverse the decision? But, in the blink of an eye, time passes. The action is done and/or the words are said. What’s left is the aftermath—the direct result we alone have caused.

David had an affair with Bathsheba, produced an offspring, celebrated its birth (somewhere amid the repentance and ownership of having an affair), but then launched into fasting and praying when the child fell sick. The outcome of his infidelity was the death of his child. God told him this, and yet he still determined to pray and fast for the child until he passed from this life.

As I reflect on this event in Scripture, I wonder why we typically turn to God and ask Him to fix our mistakes. Why isn’t our first reaction to repent and take ownership and/or responsibility? Why do we spend most of our time in prayer and fasting over the potential to change the mistake rather than a desire for God to change our hearts?

I’ve been guilty of this many times in my life. I identify with David in so many ways—mess up and try to hide it; mess up and try to deny it; mess up and try to justify it; mess up and ask God to fix it. I forget repentance and spiritual change are of far greater importance than any physical outcome.

When I realize I’ve made a mistake, God forgives. But, I, as well as so many others, forget sometimes there are consequences we may face for those thoughts and actions. There’s another hurdle, another challenge in our spiritual walk and maturity. God forgave David, but he still had to deal with the aftermath of his sin. When this happens to us, we get bent out of shape. We fail to understand while God forgives and erases our sin, He doesn’t always fix the after-effects.

I need to learn a lesson from David today. While I’ve messed up, and taken the result of my sin to God, I can’t be surprised when God doesn’t deliver me from the repercussions. When the remains are broken and circumstances upset, sometimes that’s just life. We made the choice. We made the mistake. When God doesn’t erase the outcome, it doesn’t mean God’s out to get us, nor does it mean He’s no longer worthy. He’s still the same God. He’s still the same provider. He’s still the same Keeper. He’s still the same miracle-worker. It only means His decision is just.

David knew this, even amid his mistakes. He may have kept praying and fasting for God to change the outcome—which God could have done. He’s God, after all. But, when all was said and done, and David’s time of prayer and fasting was over, he returned to what was right. And, that was worship. If we are to model David, a man after God’s own heart, we should do the same and worship.

If you’re surrounded by the ramifications of your past decisions, it’s natural to feel angry with and/or question God. But remember we serve a great God who will help us navigate through the rubble to a place where we can rebuild, just like David. It’s time to get up, wash our face, and worship the Lord. He’s forgiven our sin stains. He’s brought us through another battle. And, above all, He’s worth of our praise.