Monday, January 18, 2016

How Long Will You Grieve?

By Phillip Medhurst 
via Wikimedia Commons

By Melanie Rigney

The Lord said to Samuel: “How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” But Samuel replied: “How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me.” (1 Samuel 16:1-2)

Once you spoke in a vision, and to your faithful ones you said: “On a champion I have placed a crown; over the people I have set a youth.”  (Psalm 89:20)

“Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then (Jesus said to the Pharisees), “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:25-28)

Lord, open my soul to trusting that You have a plan for me, even when I can’t see it.

When I was young, I loved reading girls’ series books featuring heroines like Betsy Ray, Polly Pepper, Trixie Belden, Penny Parrish, Marcy Rhodes, and Donna Parker. They solved mysteries, took care of their siblings, fretted over makeup and clothes and boyfriends, fought with their best friends, the usual stuff.

And then there was Beany Malone.

The heroine of fourteen books by Lenora Mattingly Weber, Catherine “Beany” Malone was the youngest of four children in a Denver family whose mother was dead and whose father was an often absent newspaperman. I liked Beany because she was capable, pretty much running the household even when we met her at sixteen. Some girls liked her because you always figured she would follow in her dad’s footsteps and become a writer. Beany figured that too; her after-school job was helping the newspaper’s advice columnist, and she worked on the school newspaper.

But in the oh-so-aptly titled Pick a New Dream, Beany’s graduated from high school and the advice columnist is leaving the country—permanently. Perfect, right? Wrong. There’s no summer job for Beany with the columnist, who in parting basically tells Beany she’s not meant to be a writer. Beany mourns this turn of events. And yet—she finds happiness and love in a totally unexpected way: by working at the community center.

Pick a new dream.

That’s in essence what the Lord tells Samuel today, or rather, He tells Samuel he’s picked a new dream for him in the form of one of Jesse’s sons, who turns out to be David. Samuel doesn’t immediately marvel or rejoice at this news; rather, he fears for his earthly life if he carries out the Lord’s plan.

In the Gospel reading, the Pharisees know the rules about the sabbath. Jesus offers more than a new dream; he offers a new way of life, as the Lord has set forth in the Messiah’s coming.

That’s the thing about earthly hurts or disappointments, whether you’re Samuel or the Pharisees or Beany Malone. The Lord desires nothing but good for us, but we can get in our own way and set ourselves up for disappointment when we listen to our own egos rather than praying for guidance and the strength to be obedient. When we discern and accept the Lord’s dream for us and put down our struggles, it all gets a lot easier, no matter how difficult it may appear on the outside.

Ask the Lord for clarity in where He desires you to go… and for the faith to follow.

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