Dealing With Disappointment, I Samuel 16:1-13
It is not easy to deal with disappointment, but at some time in our lives, disappointment is something we all have to deal with. Disappointments can cause the direction of our lives to change as they block out a vision for the future. Disappointments can cause us to grieve in the realization that our hopes for tomorrow are no longer the direction of life in which we are traveling. How we deal with our disappointments determines how we shall respond to the challenges of our lives.
Samuel was disappointed with Saul. As the prophet of Israel, Samuel had the prophetic duty of anointing the king of Israel. In fulfilling this duty, Samuel had anointed Saul as the first king of Israel, but things did not go well under Saul’s leadership. Yesterday’s hopes had become today’s disappointments. Saul had turned his back on God to such an extent that the closing verse of I Samuel 15 sums up Saul’s time as king of Israel with these words:
… but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
I Samuel 15:35b
Dealing with disappointment. Today’s scripture lesson from the 16th chapter of I Samuel is the story of how God deals with the disappointment of Saul’s time as king.
First, God did not linger in grief as Samuel did. Grief is a gift for moving forward into a new future, but sometimes it is possible to linger in grief rather than move forward into a new future. Where Samuel lingered in grief, God moved forward through grief into a new future as God said to Samuel:
How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel.
I Samuel 16:1a
Second, God set the course for a new future that was beyond the present disappointment of Saul’s failure of leadership as God told Samuel:
Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.
I Samuel 16:1b
Third, looking at David’s heart, God dealt with the present disappointment of Saul’s leadership by envisioning a future where David, the shepherd boy, would become David, the king of Israel:
For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
I Samuel 16:7
Fourth, God empowered David for the future responsibility of being the king of Israel by empowering David’s life in the present day:
… and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.
I Samuel 16:13b
How we deal with disappointment determines how we respond to the present challenges of our lives. How we deal with our disappointment disappointments determines how we respond to the future.
In February of 1988, Patricia Bain was given six months to live. She reported that this news was the final blow. Her husband had left her two months earlier. She had three teenage children to support, but Patricia says the greatest loss she experienced was the loss of hope for her future. Grieving, she railed against God and asked, “How long?” She had to live one day at a time, and at times she reported that all she could handle was one hour, one minute, or one second at a time.
She lived beyond her expected six months, and in 1991, surgery was made possible for the condition from which she suffered. She agreed to the surgery but reported that by the fifth week following her surgery, she had reached her lowest and most hopeless point. During that week, she had a dream. It was a wonderful vision of her future as she dreamed of becoming a grandmother and buying every toy possible for her new grandchild. Patricia said that when she awoke, she knew that God had provided a vision for her future.
Pat was ordained as a clergy person in The United Methodist Church in 1993. She served as pastor to ten churches in the mountains and said she lived every day in gratitude for the new life she had been given as she confronted her disappointments. Taking action with her life, she lived into the future with faith.
Dry Bones to New Life
When we deal with disappointments, the good news of faith is that God can empower us to live into a new life as we:
- Move forward into a new future by moving forward through the grief of our present disappointments.
- Set the course for a new future that is beyond the present disappointments.
- See life through God’s vision.
- Live into the future by following God in the present.
At some time in our lives, we all have to deal with disappointment. If you are living in one of those times, let God empower you.
June 6, 2021