Dealing with Heartbreak
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 1, 2002, 17:47
Can you remember a moment when you have been let down, hurt, mistreated, or disappointed? It has stung you, cut you to the core of your soul. You are upset that you let it effect you that way, but it did. And the only word that can describe the way you feel is that you are heartbroken.
Heartbreak can happen in a variety of ways. Perhaps you brought it on yourself or perhaps you are completely innocent. No matter how it happened, it is real. There is real pain and it is overwhelming.
In 2 Samuel 15, the bottom fell out of David’s world when his own son, Absalom, conspired to take the throne of Israel. There are many things that are happening in this passage, but one of the struggles for David was that he loved his son. The struggle at this moment wasn’t really for a kingdom, although that was part of it. This was a struggle brought on by heartbreak. Yet in the midst of that heartbreak David shows himself to be unbreakable, (in a spiritual sense, he is a man after God’s own heart). What David did gives us some guidelines or an outline of how to handle life when we are heartbroken and we feel like God has forgotten us in the crumbling of our lives.
We are not strangers to this thing called Heartbreak. It is something that has touched us all but we don’t like to talk about it or even think about it. A working definition of heartbreak is “Overwhelming sorrow or grief!” As heartbreak sets in there has to be some type of reaction.
In the passage David has to do something in the midst of his heartbreak. This is a defining moment in the life of the king. I would suggest that what you do with your heartbreak might be a defining moment in your life as well. Let’s go on a journey with David as he deals with his heartbreak and discover some lessons that will help us as our hearts crack under the pressure of life.
Unbreakable people rush to God (v. 13-14 & 30) “A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” Then David said to all his officials who where with him in Jerusalem . . . “Come, we must flee or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword.” (30) But David continued up the Mount of Olives weeping as he went, his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up.”
When David received the news that “the hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom” he ordered an immediate evacuation of those who were loyal to him in the city. This begins a desperate retreat to the desert. There are some who might read this and say “what a coward!” But David knew that hope for the city and for his followers would be found in getting away from the wrath of Absalom. Always remember…When disaster strikes, one of the things we must learn to do is rush to God. At times that means we need to go somewhere to gain perspective. This is what David is doing at this point.
As David was leaving the city we see (v.30) that he was “weeping as he went, he was barefoot, and his head was covered”. These things were signs of David humbling himself before God and seeking his face. When crisis or heartbreak occurs some people react by blaming God and getting angry at Him. David does just the opposite and holds onto the fact that God is faithful and that God does indeed love him. David does not doubt in darkness what he has discovered in the light. Dark times don’t mean that God has forgotten you. David rushes to safety and will also find perspective.
After Abraham Lincoln had defeated Stephen A Douglas for the presidency, the two were together on the east portico of the capital for Lincoln’s inauguration. The President-elect was introduced by Senator Edward Baker of Oregon. Lincoln stood beside him, carrying the manuscript of his speech, a cane, and a tall silk hat. As he got ready to speak, he looked for a place to put the hat. Stephen Douglas quickly stepped forward, took the hat, and returned to his seat.
“If I can’t be President, he said to a cousin of Mr. Lincoln, I can at least hold his hat.” Douglas learned that there is nothing wrong with not being the boss in charge and in control. That is why we have trouble going to God at times, because we don’t like to humble ourselves to anyone. Let me share with you a principle that is good to remember when we get caught up in our own self pride.
Principle: The toughest instrument in any orchestra to play is second fiddle
David was very much in touch with his past, his successes, and his failures. He rushed to the desert, but he was really rushing toward God. The reason was simple, as king he had discovered that he really wasn’t in charge, but God was. He found rest in that. As heartbreak hits, you can turn away from God or turn to God. Unbreakable people rush toward God when the storm comes.
Unbreakable people embrace help(v.19-22) The king said to Ittai the Gittite, Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. You came only yesterday. And today I make you wander about with us when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you. But Ittai replied to the king, As surely as the lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there your servant will be. David said to Ittai. . Go ahead, march on. . So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
David placed very few demands on others when crisis came and heartbreak set in. “Why should you come with us?” he asks (v. 19) and as you continue to examine the passage there are other times when he is found telling people to get away from him and keep their own safety.
Catch the full scope of the scene as it plays out in Scripture. David is on a dash out of the city. He is seeing his household pass by. There are many people that he knows and cares for filing past. This man, Ittai, is there. He is not mentioned in David’s story to this point. He is a friend, but he never steps into the spotlight until the chips are down. David looks as this crowd passes by, he is coming to grips with the fact that he is leaving the throne, leaving the city, leaving the glory, and struggling with personal sorrow. Then in steps this man and says, “Count me in, for whatever happens.” That is a powerful moment on that hillside in these verses.
The Gittite is good guy in the narrative. A Gittite is a man from Gath. Remember Gath, home of Goliath? David had defeated the Philistines and some of them were brought into exile. Yet instead of hating him, here is one who loved, respected, and was loyal to David. David says leave. He says no. And he stays…with a promise to hang in there until the bitter end if need be.
Here is yet another lesson when heartbreak sets in. People will offer to help. Learning to receive that help in times of heartbreak is just as important as offering it. David finds there is a wave of help that comes his way. While it is true that David is in heartbreak and is in crisis, but he is not alone. God is there and there are others that God has placed with David to help. They did not come to feel sorry for David, they were there to offer their assistance and there is a difference between the two.
In moments of crisis or bad circumstances there is a danger in becoming a wallow beast. When you do, there are some that just want to fuel that self-pity. Some will ignite those feelings, but be warned they are of no help at all. As a matter of fact they are a hindrance, and those people are not really friends. You don’t need someone to just feel sorry for you, you need someone who will help.
Recently I sat in my office with someone whose world was just falling apart. The struggle, pain, and pressure of life was etched on their face. As they shared all that was happening, they also made the observation that in the heat of the crisis they could find plenty of people who would feel sorry for them, but they could count on one hand the number of people who wanted to help! My advice was to embrace the few that would help. They were a part of God’s provision in the crisis. Unbreakable people embrace help.
These are just a couple of characteristics of those that prove themselves to be unbreakable. The real secret is to remember that we as individuals can easily be broken, but our Savior can’t be broken at all.
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