We Must Die (But...)

I found something.

I heard the Word at a gluten-free pizza place while my kids watched Spongebob on silent (the only way to watch Spongebob, I say). I heard God speak, loud and true, and I held onto the syllables like I’d hold a fishing pole with a marlin on the line. 

See, I’ve read II Samuel before, every word of it, and I swear I never read this. It wasn’t there before and it was there now—which is true and not true, of course. 

I’m reading about David and watching his heart warm to the idea of reuniting with his banished son Absalom, and I hear this woman, this minor character in a big story, I hear her speak to her king in wisdom-soaked words. She says very little. She holds no title. She is unnamed. And here in an old book she speaks a still-new thing. She says:

"Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him."

And then she drops the mic. 

That’s how I imagine it, anyway.

I read her words and I see water, tears, small streams on earth’s cracked cheek. I see a child spill her glass, now on hands and knees, chasing the disappearing drops. I see a family spilling ashes into the sea. So many empty cups, empty hands.

Life—like water—spilled on the ground, evaporated, swallowed…

I sat with a friend on Saturday, a friend who’s dying. Her doctor says her type of cancer is the “most efficient way to die.” And while she’s full of the Spirit and so wise, she’s also tired, utterly dependent and not herself. I look over her shoulder and see this picture of her before the cancer, and I can’t help thinking, "so we must die."

"But that is not what God desires."

When I get to this hinge in the verse, the place where what is and what will be meet, I want to jump and yell and clap. Because I know that the water is spilled, because I’ve chased it, because I’ve mourned, pouring fresh tears over dry ground. And because I feel in my gut that if I wait long enough over this square foot of land on which I stand, I will see a spring bubble up.

This drought is not what God desires.

Because my God is a living water God. A resurrection God. A redemption God. A reconciliation God. 

Because my God "devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him."