By Niki Turner
When people disappoint us—whether directly or indirectly—it hurts. When the people we have invested our time and energy in fail to live up to our expectations, we experience symptoms of shock, confusion, guilt, grief, and despair.
This week I learned two of my kids have been doing some "stupid teenager tricks." I was crushed. Besides being furious with them, I was furious with myself. Surely, if I had done a better job raising them, this could have been prevented. Fear and doubt for their futures began to assail my mind. Anger with them for putting me in this miserable state added to my despair. I'm sure the empty feeling I experienced is similar to the horror God knew when He looked into the garden and saw Adam taking a bite of that forbidden fruit.
But just as God didn't curl up on his heavenly throne and feel sorry for Himself after the fall, He doesn't intend for us remain in that state of disappointment and grief. Just as He proactively set in motion His plan to redeem His children, God wants us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move forward in faith.
Disappointment is inevitable when we're dealing with fallible humans, but how long we stay there is up to us. It depletes our supply of the spirit, robs us of the joy of the Lord that is our strength, and hinders us from running our race.
The prophet Samuel experienced the same trouble during his ministry. Samuel had anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. As Saul's spiritual leader, I'm sure they developed a close relationship. Then Saul made a grave error that cost him the kingdom. He chose the fear of men over the fear of God, and “…rejected the word of the Lord” through disobedience.
1 Samuel 15:34-35 tells us the prophet returned to his house in Ramah and "went to see Saul no more." Mourning a broken relationship or broken trust is perfectly normal, for a time. Apparently though, instead of going through the process and beginning to heal, Samuel stayed in that place of sorrow until God had to snap him out of it. It’s not God’s will for His servants to sit around in mourning for extended periods of time!
In 1 Samuel 16:1, the Lord says to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons."
The Lord’s instructions to Samuel are His instructions to us today when we find ourselves disappointed and grieved by the actions of others. We know oil refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 61 says God gives us the oil of joy in place of mourning. The horn referred to here was the container used to carry that oil. Under the new covenant, we carry the anointing in our spirits.
So fill up on the anointed Word, pray in the Spirit, and be built up by speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Let the anointing in your life be refilled and refreshed, and then get up and go do it again. God is sending you out proactively as a repairer of the breach, as one who will rebuild relationships, and restore what has been torn down by the enemy. Imagine what would have happened if Samuel hadn't gone out again...David wouldn't have taken his place as Israel's greatest king.
Just as it was vital for God's plan that Samuel get over Saul's failure, you are necessary to the Body of Christ, to your family, to your workplace, and to God's plan for the world. Fill your horn with oil, and GO!
Heavenly Father, I pray for every person reading this who is distressed and disappointed. Lord, speak to their hearts now as you spoke to Samuel, remind them of the calling on their lives and the plans you have for their future. Let Your anointing flood their spirits and refresh them to continue the good works You have prepared for them. In Jesus' name, amen.
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