Helping Children Through Loss and Bereavement
Even Bible Heroes Have Sad Days
The following text is a sermon written by College Counsellor Mrs Alison Stegert for the Year 4 students who experienced the tragic loss of a friend and classmate.
When you hear the word Superhero, what do you think of? Superman, Spiderman, The Incredibles?
Superheroes are fictional people who can do almost anything without blinking. They are always strong. They are always brave. They are always calm.
Superheroes never trip. They never catch colds. They don’t experience moments of self-doubt. Superheroes don’t feel embarrassed or down or scared.
They are too busy fighting the baddies and restoring order! They leap over buildings, catch bullets, fly through the air, and take on monsters—at least in cartoons and movies…
What if you hear the words Bible Hero? Who comes to mind? Everyone has a favourite Bible Hero. Mine is David. Even as a young boy, David was heroic. He was the youngest in his family, but he guarded his father’s flocks of sheep from lions and bears! Now that’s brave!
Everyone loves the story of David and Goliath. David was too young for battle, but he was sent by his father to take some food to his older brothers who were soldiers, fighting on the front against the nasty enemy, the Philistines. When he arrived at the camp, David was shocked to find his side cowering and waiting, rather than fighting and winning. He heard about the Philistines not-so-secret weapon, the gigantic Goliath. When David saw the big bully, he didn’t think, “I’m out of here! I’m just a puny kid.” He didn’t think, “That guy is enormous! He’s bigger than a fridge.” David didn’t even worry, “Goliath could squash me like a bug.”
What he thought was heroic. He thought, “Goliath might be big, but our God is bigger. That guy is insulting God, and it’s got to stop.”
David, as we know, took his sling shot and five smooth stones to face the enormous, ugly bruiser. David’s strongest weapon, however, wasn't in his pocket; it was on his tongue: the name of the Lord. One shot in the name of God and the giant fell.
That’s pretty heroic, don’t you think? It made David, the annoying pip-squeak of the family, instantly famous. His fame continued, and he went on to become King. He fought lots of battles and had many glorious victories. People loved him. He was wealthy and extremely handsome. He had a large family. He loved God with all his heart.
But here’s the point: Despite all of David's glory and fame, wealth and comfort—even though he was arguably the most famous Bible hero of the Old Testament, David had sad days.
David the heroic king had days when he was down, days when it all seemed too hard and he was scared. He even had moments when he felt like quitting.
You know those days when hiding under the blanket seems like the best option? David had them! He ran for the hills and hid in a dark cave!
When he was young, his older siblings treated him like a pesky little brother. Later, his coach turned on him and tried to kill him. His wife ridiculed him in public. His children misbehaved and betrayed him. He made horrible mistakes that people found out about. He sinned and hurt God with his actions. The death of a precious son left him so sad he couldn’t eat or talk or be with people.
Even a hero like David had sad, bad days, because sometimes life in this world is sad and bad. Comic book superheroes' personal lives might be calm and breezy, but real life can be messy and surprising, and sometimes it’s downright scary.
And it’s okay and normal to feel sad or afraid and need a hug. That's why God gave us parents and grandparents. If a great, heroic king of the Old Testament can feel sad or afraid or need a hug, so can we.
David made it through those sad, bad times with the same thing that helped him win all of the other struggles and battles in his life: He remembered his God. He called out to God. He praised God.
David’s greatest strength wasn’t big muscles or battle skills or bravery. His greatest strength was that he had a heart after God. He was a worshipper. When he was happy, he danced in the streets for God. When he was sad, he poured out his heart in songs. In fact, he wrote hundreds—some sources say thousands—of songs of praise to his God.
Here is part of one of the psalms of David:
I am sad and hurting.
God, lift me up and save me!
I will praise God’s name in song.
I will honour him by giving him thanks.
The Lord will be happier with this
than with the offering of an ox or a full-grown bull as a sacrifice.
Poor people, you came to worship God.
You will be happy to know these things.
The Lord listens to poor, helpless people.
He hears the cries of his needy ones and does not look the other way.
Praise him, heaven and earth!
Sea and everything in it, praise him!
(Psalm 69:29-34, Easy-to-Read Version, 1987.)
When David was sad and hurting, he wrote songs to God. He gave thanks, because he knew the sacrifice of praise was the most pleasing thing to God. His burning desire to please God was exactly what helped him make it through the sad days. Now THAT is heroic.
I encourage you to remember this: sometimes life is hard and scary and sad. It’s okay to feel sad and scared. In those moments, get a hug and then reach out to God, like David did.
God bless you all.