In the first reading today, we hear the ongoing story of David and the adversarial nature of his relationship with his son, Absalom. Here, the news of the advancing army of Absalom and the disaffiliation of his own people, fills David with sorrow, as he knows that his son is intent on killing him and taking the city by storm. David orders his army and people to flee to safety.
We are given an image of David, walking barefoot on the Mount of Olives, weeping in sorrow, which could conjure up for us the image of Jesus weeping in the garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, as he is about to be betrayed, violently arrested, and deserted by his closest friends.
There are moments during the story of David’s journey where we see instances of help and support for him, as well as moments of violence, such as Shimei cursing and stoning David. Similar moments are brought to mind when we meditate on the passion of Christ.
David’s men want to kill Shimei. David has many failings, has committed grievous sins, and deems himself worthy of punishment, and decides that it must be God’s will for him to suffer and does not allow his men to retaliate against Shimei.
How difficult is it to be docile to God’s will when everything seems to be going against us? While God does not make bad things happen to us (we are often the authors of our own sad stories), he does allow them; he always brings some good through them. Perhaps it is a strengthening, or a humbling, or a conversion that will take place through the current misfortune, ill-health, or breakdown of a relationship. We may not ever understand the purpose because God’s ways are not our ways.
One thing is for sure, we cannot endure difficulties, persevere through pain and suffering and be victorious over evil without a deep prayer life; our relationship with God carries us and strengthens us for the road ahead. A deeply prayerful person can be tuned into the workings of almighty God in their life when times are tough. It takes a very humble, deeply prayerful person to accept adversity, and with humility, endure the consequences with trust and hope that God will help them through it.
If things are not going well just now, we could reflect on the Word of God as he speaks to us in the scriptures and spend time alone with him in silence; it will calm our minds and open our hearts. Let’s listen to him, ask him to show us the way ahead, to send consolation and support of friends along the way, and pray for the grace to get through it.