The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”
1 Samuel 16:1 (ESV)

Saul was the first king of Israel. The people had decided they wanted to be like the nations around them who had kings. God warned them that it would not end well, but they still demanded a king. Saul was everything they thought they wanted. Tall and handsome, he looked the part. But he was not faithful to God which resulted in being rejected as the father of future kings.

Samuel was the prophet of God who anointed Saul as king. He had warned Saul about the consequences of disobeying God and tried to mentor the young king. He truly cared for Saul and despite being angry at Saul’s foolish decisions that led to his being dethroned, he mourned the loss. He had hoped it would work out.

How many times have we been in situations that we hoped would work out and then they didn’t? The disappointment shatters us at some level and we mourn what could have been. Whether we are talking about a broken relationship, broken promise, or shattered dream, we get mired in grief.

God gives us grace during this time, but at some point He may ask us, “How long will you grieve?” We can’t move forward into the future God has for us until we take the next step and go. For Samuel that meant filling his horn with oil so he could anoint a new king. For us, that may mean releasing a dream into God’s hands and stepping out in faith in a new direction.

Samuel may have gotten stuck in self-pity or his feelings of loyalty toward Saul may have been overshadowing His obedience to God. Whatever the reason, God decided Samuel had been stuck in regret long enough. It was time to move on.

God had already provided the next step, in this case the next king. Samuel just needed to get up and get moving. For that, God gave him some tough love. Sometimes we all need someone to ask us, “How long are you going to sit here doing nothing? Get it in gear!”

If you are in a season of grieving for a lost dream, may I lovingly nudge you along on your journey? How long will you be stuck in your past? Seek God’s direction, and when He says it’s time to go, get up and go where He leads. He will be faithful to take you into the future He prepared for you.

Father, we come to you with our shattered hopes and derailed dreams. You know the circumstances that led us here, and You know your plan for leading us through this time of uncertainty and heartache. Help us to rest in Your care and heal from this pain. Then help us to hear you when you say it’s time to get up and go. Thank you for planning a bright future for us. May we walk in step with you daily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. I want to be clear when I talk about grief in this post, I’m not talking about grieving the death of a loved one. That grief must be waded through at your own pace—still led by God—but His grace will cover you every moment. You can’t rush soul-deep grief, and God will help you when you get stuck. Let His healing come one painful step at a time.

Daughter of God, you will find wholeness in Christ.


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