Until my baby died, the quicksand kept pulling me down.

One step at a time, I was sucked into the mire deeper and deeper.

I knew the king was in his palace that day. Maybe I wanted to punish him for staying safely in Jerusalem while my husband, Uriah, and the rest of the army faced the enemy on the battlefield.

I knew King David could see the roof of my house from his palace balcony, where he liked to walk, but that day I chose to bathe on the roof in broad daylight.

That was my first step into the quagmire. But I didn't expect what happened next. One of the king's servants appeared at my door, saying my presence was requested at the palace.

How could I refuse? He was not only the king, he was my husband’s supreme commander. And perhaps I was lonely. Whatever the reason, I went to the king and willingly gave myself to him.

We enjoyed being together and the loneliness faded away. Everything seemed wonderful.

Until I learned I was pregnant.

Since my husband had been away at war, everyone would know that I had been unfaithful. Uriah could have me stoned for adultery.

When I revealed the situation to David, the color fled from his face. Soldiers would no longer want to fight for a king who slept with the wife of one of his commanders, while the army slept on the ground miles from home. He devised a plan and sent for Uriah, but when David told him to go home and spend time with me, he refused to even sleep in the house. "How can I enjoy any comforts while my men are on the front lines?" he asked me. Nothing I did could seduce him to lay with me.

Then David arranged for Uriah to be caught in the middle of the line of battle, ensuring that he would be killed. When the word of his death reached me, I pretended to grieve but inside I was relieved. I thanked God for giving me—and the king—a way out of our predicament.

How wrong I was!

David and I married and soon we celebrated the birth of our son. Life seemed to be all I ever wanted it to be. David wanted an heir to the throne, and he believed our son would be king one day.

When the baby became ill, David begged God to heal him but nothing helped. Not his prayers. Not sacrifices. Not the herbs and spices of the healers. After our son died, I thought the heartbreak would kill us, too.

That's when God showed me the sins we had committed against Him. I confessed my transgressions to God and knew the cleansing power of His forgiveness.

It took David awhile, but after he went to see the priest, he changed. He returned with a peace about him that he had not shown since we met. He even wrote this beautiful song that says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Maybe you've heard it, but no one can sing it like David can. His voice resonates with his passion and love for the Lord.

God pulled us out of the mighty mess we walked into with such stubbornness. He rescued us and gave us another chance. He also gave us another son.

See, he's sleeping now. We named him Solomon. And our God has promised me that he will be a great king, and that through his children, all the people of the world will be saved.

Aren’t you grateful that God is a God of second chances?

© 2012 Marie Wells Coutu


Bathsheba's Story

 
 
I heard this video on a friend's blog recently and it stuck with me. So often we carry anger with us, thinking we own the right to it, when really the only person we're hurting is ourselves. Yes, there are times when the person who hurt us did it knowingly. But then there are times where that person is so messed up, they had no idea what they were doing. And our being angry with them will not change the situation at all--it will only eat away at us. We need to give it to God. Press into Him and allow Him to heal us. And through our healing, and through HIs power--because sometimes those hurts are so big we don't have the power on our own to forgive--forgive them.

 
 
by Susan Tuttle
Did you know that when you come to God you’re not perfect? Even after He saves us by grace? But aren’t we great at living in guilt when we make the same mistakes over and over.

I want to go back today to one of the verses I used last time. I want to get this in your head. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old is gone, the new is here!”.  You are no longer who you were, you are brand-spanking-new in His eyes. So don't let the old you guilt you--yes, you’re still going to mess up--but now those messes belong to God and it's amazing what He can do with them!

See, sometimes when we come to God, He immediately delivers us from a habitual sin. But other times, He allows us to keep it, and work at changing that habit. I believe He has two reasons for this. One is to keep us connected to Him. The only way we can change our damaging habits is to rely daily on Him, and in doing so, our relationship with Him grows. 

The second reason is for His grace to shine through us. Paul had a great passage on this in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 as he talks about the “thorn” in his flesh. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 
You belong to God, but you are still wrapped in flesh. You will make mistakes…maybe even more than one each day (I know, believe me). But when you do, allow yourself to feel God’s grace, to accept it. Don’t beat yourself up those times you stumble and perhaps fall.  Before, when you’d fall, you alone had to pick yourself up. Now, God reaches down His hand and grabs you with His strength. You’ll never be perfect here on this earth, but when you allow Him to shine through your mistakes, you become a perfect picture of His grace at work. And that’s a beautiful thing.



 
 
Picture
By Marie Wells Coutu

Every year about this time, the dead flowers are removed from this flower bed at an office building near me, leaving a wide brown swath of dirt for a few days. Then some fall flowers are planted to replace the ones that don’t thrive in this spot where hey get full sun.

This year, they did add the elephant ear on the ends, which have done pretty well. But for some reason, each spring the flowers of choice are ones that really would prefer a shadier location.

Do you ever repeat the same old mistakes, year after year, month after month, even day after day? I know I do.

Sometimes I plead ignorance—I just don’t realize that what I’m doing is dumb, or wrong, or hurtful to someone I love. Other times, I know that my actions are not pleasing to God, but I choose to continue because I’m weak. Or just because, deep down, I don’t want to change.

But the good news is that God can help us avoid making the same mistakes over and over again, if we ask. King David wrote in Psalm 19:12-13, “Who can notice every mistake? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep me from sinning. Do not let anyone gain control over me. Then I will be blameless, and I will be free from any great offense” (GWT).

Not only will He keep us from sinning, but He will forgive even those offenses that no one else knows about. And once He forgives, we become sin-free in God’s eyes.

Instead of planting the same flowers in the wrong place, I’m going to ask God to help me plant beautiful flowers in the right places—in the lives of others. I trust Him to change my heart so that I want to make the effort to control my tongue, my mind, and my heart.

What repeated mistake will you ask Him to help you with today?