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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Exhibiting the sanctity of life
Date Posted: January 19, 2014

Do you ever wonder why David cut the corner off Saul’s robe rather than killing him in that cave? (1 Samuel 24). Then David’s heart was troubled after he did that. That word troubled is a very strong word in Hebrew that means to strike (as the KJV translates it) but also means to kill, slaughter, murder, stripes, wound.

David felt that for just cutting off the corner of Saul’s robe. Yet, he took the life of Uriah (1 Samuel 11-12). One would think that David would remember how his heart wounded his soul for taking the robe’s corner, but he did not.

In fact David had a blameless life until that day he sent Joab to the front lines with instructions to send Uriah to the front and have the others drop back leaving him to fight the battle all alone. 1 Kings 15:5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. This was a deliberate, murderous action. How often have we committed something similar?

Gossip?

Lies?

Taking credit for something that was not wholly one’s creation?

Being the negative voice (one bad apple)?

Suicidal and/or murderous thoughts?

Stoking the fires of anger against someone?

Hanging on to bitterness with a death grip?

No physical life was lost. But Jesus said that if we harbor anger in our hearts for a sibling in Christ then we have committed murder.

One of the leading causes of death in teenagers and young adults 15-24 is suicide. There are many reasons these young people tell themselves so that suicide seems to be the only solution to a temporary problem. Some of the causes for the feelings that well up inside a person that leads to suicidal thoughts include major disappointment, rejection, failure, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or witnessing family turmoil.

Hold that image of Uriah all by himself in battle in your mind. That is how someone contemplating suicide feels. Alone, abandoned, worthless, and because of these feelings a person thinking those suicidal thoughts is also focused inwardly. Depression is a major cause of those kinds of thoughts to prevail. Those same causes that instigate suicidal thoughts also instigate depression. David describes it in Psalm 31,

Psalm 31:9b I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body!

Psalm 31:10 For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away.

Psalm 31:11 I am a reproach among all my enemies, But especially among my neighbors, And am repulsive to my acquaintances; Those who see me outside flee from me.

Psalm 31:12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.

Psalm 31:13 For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life.

Every person who has Jesus in his or her heart has felt this way at some time or another in their life. It is how one feels after sinning and acting in disobedience to God’s Word. But, we also feel this way because we are focusing on the inside, allowing some thoughts to wallow in the depths of our minds splashing mud and filth covering other thoughts. We wallow in self-depreciation and forget about how worthy God sees us.

Wasting away in mind and body.

Intense grief.

Reproached by enemies and friends alike.

People turning to go another way when catching sight of you. They are tired of being dragged down by your depression, and that hurts more because you feel they do not care enough to help you.

Forgotten.

Broken.

Fear. Slanderous schemes against you.

David knew how to deflect and fight these feelings of depression.

Consider the whole Psalm 31 beginning with

Psalm 31:2 Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, A fortress of defense to save me.

Psalm 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name's sake, Lead me and guide me.

4Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength.

5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

6 I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities,

8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.

When God is for you, who can be against you? No one. Somehow, some way we must be ever mindful of those who are apt to slip into depression. There is so much hope in God, but at times when one has lost a loved one or family troubles seem too deep and dark to navigate safely, we must remember to cry out to God for then the enemies of bitterness, sadness, suicidal thoughts, depression, fear, reproach will turn back because God is for us. Psalm 56:9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.

Let us have tender mercy for those who are our siblings in Christ. Let us also have tender mercy for those who are lost for how else will they be jealous of what we have and desire it above all else? Drawing a friend, a loved one, or someone we barely know back from the crevice of despair is exhibiting the sanctity of life. Lovingkindness is the fullness and completeness of God’s love. Tender mercy is the same as the encompassing mother’s womb full of safety and warmth. Let us treat each other with these for these are the gifts of God, and the crowns that we can bestow upon others (Psalm 103:4).

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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