The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul?”
1 Samuel 16:1
My eye keeps getting caught on this verse. Early last week, I began to look at 1 Samuel 16 to start a new sermon series on the life of David. But my eye kept getting caught on this verse.
Samuel grieved over Saul. Why? Saul was the mistake. He had fallen from grace. He had been brutal and abusive. He had been unfaithful to God’s call upon his life to be king over God’s people. Samuel no longer had a way of healing or making things right with Saul. Later in this same passage, Samuel will tell God that he is afraid to do what God is asking because “Saul will kill me.”
This Saul who Samuel knows will kill him… this is the Saul for whom Samuel grieves.
My next question is to myself: “How often do I grieve for people?” Particularly, how often do I grieve for people who have hated me, rejected me, or gone the way opposite to the way I have gone. I don’t know if I do. I am more likely to write such relationships off. “There is nothing more I can do,” I rationalize when I am gracious. I act as if someone is “dead to me” when I am less gracious. When I am speaking piously, I may say, “I am putting them in your hands, Jesus.”
But perhaps we need to grieve more. When we can do nothing else relationally, we can grieve. We can pray. Perhaps we need to grieve for the friends who have turned on us, the spouses who have left us, the children who have ignored us, the boss or coworkers who dismissed us, the politicians who offend us, or the cancer, brokenness, racism, and injustice that is all around us. Let us grieve in prayer before the God who hears our prayers and promises to wipe every tear from our eyes.
Jesus, there is much to grieve in this life. We ask that you would use our grief as a way of making our hearts pliable in your hands. Help us to hold the things that break our hearts… the things that break your heart before you with tears and with prayer. We are waiting upon you. We want to move forward not away from someone else, but toward where you direct us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.