Broken families…

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2 Samuel 14:28 So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king’s presence (Absalom had killed one of his brothers, the king had banished him). 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab (a close adviser to the king) to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to him. He sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab rose and went to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Look, I sent word to you: Come here, that I may send you to the king with the question, ‘Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.’ Now let me go into the king’s presence; if there is guilt in me, let him kill me!” 33 Then Joab went to the king and told him; and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and prostrated himself with his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.

So much pain in David’s family. First we’re told about his son Amnon who raped his half-sister Tamar. Then another son of his, Absalom, took revenge for his sister and killed Amnon, a deed for which he was banished from his father’s presence. He stayed out of the city for three years before being allowed to return to his hometown – only, he was not allowed in the king’s presence. Here we read of their long-delayed reconciliation.

There is a lot of pain and tragedy in my own extended family. Cut-off, divorce, death, you name it. I think one reason why the family rarely gets together is because it’s just too painful to do so. Too many difficult memories. Too many severed relationships. Too much emotional distance. It makes me sad and my heart heavy sometimes.

But when I read this story in 2 Samuel it reminds me that our God can bring about healing and reconciliation in the most difficult situations. Maybe there is hope for my extended family after all. Lord, let it be so. Amen.

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