The Defeated Warrior Heals

How does a warrior, once defeated, recapture the will to move on and fight again? This question has been one I’ve been thinking about for some time now. It’s only years after the death of my brother am I able to discuss and accept the answer for my own life.After all of this time, I still think back to the fight for my brother’s life. I wonder, could I have done something more? The answer is “probably not.”

For me, the answer to the question can be found by studying the life of David as documented in the Bible. David’s life was full of both victory and defeat. He was not a perfect man by any accounts, yet for some reason God chose David as a warrior, and then a king.

One story that has been on my mind is documented in the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 30. There is told the story of David as he came back from a battle, only to find his home and those of his soldiers were destroyed by fire. His wives and children were gone. The families of his soldiers were gone. No one knew where they were or if they were even alive.

The soldiers looked to David, their leader, and blamed him for all that happened to their families. David was overcome with grief and did not know what to do.

The bible states that “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.”  (1 Samuel 30:4)

Have you ever felt that way? I certainly have. I have cried out from the depths of my soul over losing my brother to cancer. I cried until I couldn’t catch my breath, and then I wept again. The idea of never seeing my brother again, never touching him, never laughing with him, was too much for me to bear. I was greatly distressed.

According to the bible, David knew that pain also:  “Then David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.”                                                (1 Samuel 30: 6)

What did David, the great warrior, do? How did he get through that terrible time?

“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Now, when I read that scripture after my brother died, I thought “yeah, well, good for David.”
I didn’t have the strength to even think straight. I was trying to deal with my anger towards God, or the world or whatever you want to call it. I was angry and defeated from losing the battle to save my brother’s life.

It is only now, some five years later, that I can go back and read those scriptures with a different understanding. For if you look closely, you will see that the bible tells us what David did, but not the time frame in which he did it.

Sometimes we have to look for what is not written, as well as what is documented. And now I get it.

David encouraged himself in God until the acceptance sunk in, and the healing began. This time period is different for each one of us. For some, accepting and healing from the death of a loved one may take months. For others, it may take years. And for some, the healing may take a lifetime.

I didn’t understand David’s story until I looked more closely. I just assumed that David saw what had happened, then he prayed to God, then shook the dust off his feet and went out to recover all that was lost. I thought this happened quickly.

But now I think that it took time for David to gather his strength again. Now I look to the book of Psalms, where some of David’s prayers and some of his greatest laments are listed. There are prayers for the morning, and the night. Songs of praise mixed with words of grief. Yes, David knew grief.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)

David also knew healing: “The Lord…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

So it is my belief that David asked God “why,” and then he allowed God the time to heal him until he was at the point of accepting. And after many such times in David’s life, his final testimony was this:

“My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145 – the last reference to David in the book of Psalms).

It takes time and much healing to believe that we can ever be fully restored after losing someone that we love. Perhaps we never will be entirely restored. But we will be healed.

There will come a day when we can think of our loved one and not weep with grief, but rather turn our thoughts to God with thanksgiving and say “thank you, God, for bringing that person into my life.”

After all of this time, I still think back to the fight for my brother’s life. I wonder, could I have done something more? The “should haves, could haves, would haves” enter the brain. And sometimes there are just questions that can never be fully answered.

But I know in my heart that the fight for my brother’s life was not done in vain. I’ve learned much during and since that battle. I still grieve for my brother. But I also know that through it all, one thing remains constant: God is still God, and He still is worthy of my praise.

How does a defeated warrior recapture the will to move on and fight again? We give time to God, allowing Him to heal our broken hearts. We believe that He can and will heal us, and then move us to do great things in order to honor our loved ones. We encourage ourselves in God, and slowly we become warriors again. Changed perhaps, nevertheless we strive forward, carrying the love we have in our hearts forever; showing the world that the life of our loved one was great, and because of that, so are we.