The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Samuel 18:33
We say that the deepest sorrow a person can experience is the loss of a child. While this is true, the experience can vary widely. Sometimes children die due to tragically unfortunate events beyond anyone’s control, and other times children die as a result of their own harmful choices. To read David’s lament, one might assume that the loss of his son Absalom was a misfortune beyond compare. Absalom’s death, however, occurred during his attempt to overthrow his father and assume control of the kingdom of Israel. Absalom was David’s son, but he had also made himself David’s enemy. If ever there was a reason not to lament the loss of a child, David had it. And yet, David wept for his son, wishing that he could have died in Absalom’s place.
A parent’s love never really dies. No matter how challenging the relationship, most parents would choose to take away their child’s pain if they could. The parental desire to trade places with children when they are imperiled is irrepressible. Absalom’s offense was great, but David’s love was even greater. Parents know that feeling. We can only assume that God, the parent of us all, finds our lives and our plight equally compelling.
Can you imagine how much your Father in heaven loves you?
Lord, You must grieve every time one of your children is injured. Even when injury is self-inflicted, Your heart must break. Perhaps that is why You were not contented to stand at a distance from us, but chose to join us in the person of Jesus. You love us more than anyone ever could, even when we act in less than loving ways. Thank You for that grace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.