Snapshots: Day 201
The Snapshot: “Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him.” (1 Sam 15:35a) Saul has blown it and been told he will lose the kingdom. He will eventually die in battle. Samuel can do no more; it’s a lost cause. But note this: until he himself died, Samuel mourned for Saul. God’s men and women ache for God’s reputation, God’s cause, God’s people, even when the people blow it. Lost potential, what could have been never apprehended, people who were just too shallow, got side-tracked by the world (Mt 13:18-23) and so on, who never received all the goodness God was handing out. This indeed is a real cause for mourning and grief. How tragic. Let’s make sure we’re not those who miss it.
Further Consideration: There are two sides to Christian experience; there is praise, worship, and thanksgiving for the wonders of all that God does for us, and there are the sorrows and sadnesses for the failings of mankind, of others and of ourselves. I suspect this second group often escape our thoughts; in some ways they are too great a burden to carry. Guilt and shame we take to the foot of the Cross, it is the only way to deal with them.
Samuel mourning for Saul – while he is still alive – is a challenging thought. Samuel had been part of the process that had brought Saul to kingship. Samuel had been on the end of the complaints of the people who demanded they have a king like other nations. He had prophesied over Saul and seen the potential for both good and bad, he had had to rebuke Saul for his failures and then, when the Lord says He will replace him with a man after his own heart, I would suggest that Samuel senses, catches and shares something of God’s heart that is sad that Saul doesn’t live up to the people’s expectations and his potential.
This is a whole area fraught with danger, the danger of letting the enemy dump guilt upon us for not being what we could be. There was the father who cried to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24) and in that is the recognition that we are believers who still struggle with unbelief AND we need the Lord’s help to overcome that. All such thoughts drive us back to the Cross with the acknowledgement that none of us is perfect and we all fall short of the potential, the glory that God offers us (Rom 3:23) – and we have to learn to live with that, the recognition that we have great potential but, for a myriad of reasons, we often don’t achieve that potential – and yet God still loves us and called and saved us knowing we were like this. There are times when we will really see this paradox and mourn but yet for most of the time just live with it. We cannot live with constant mourning and so have to balance it with the wonder and praise view of our lives.