(originally published May 9, 2015)
There is something about God finding His kings for Israel in the fields with animals. There is something about God finding us for greater purposes than we could imagine for ourselves in broken, tattered and less-than-perfect situations.
The last five years of my life have looked quite a bit like the above. It's been the second half of my twenties, when most people are at their prime and pursuing their dreams. Not me though. In fact, my late twenties were filled with some of the darkest, messiest and most regretted years of my life. I experienced the deepest pain, the darkest nights and the most isolated loneliness. I stopped pursuing my dreams and gave up on the call.
In 1 Samuel 16, God is instructing Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel. Saul had been disobedient for many years; he was the man the people wanted and he had failed God. This time, God had a man in mind who would turn over his heart to Him wholeheartedly: David.
What's fascinating is that Samuel is actually afraid to go do this because he fears Saul would find out and kill him. Saul was so distant that it was very likely he would kill the prophet! That's pretty crazy, right?
Samuel goes at God's direction to a small town called Bethlehem. In fact, the leaders there are so bewildered that the great Samuel would come to their town, that they ask if there is something wrong. God had His chosen man hiding in an obscure place; sounds like someone else, doesn't it? (Hint: Son of God).
It's here we find today's message, looking for the next king of Israel. David, the great man after God's own heart was the youngest in a large family, working an isolated job in an obscure place.
"When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, 'Here he is! God’s anointed!' But God told Samuel, 'Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart. Jesse then called up Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. Samuel said, 'This man isn’t God’s choice either.' Next Jesse presented Shammah. Samuel said, “No, this man isn’t either.”
Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, 'God hasn’t chosen any of these.' Then he asked Jesse, 'Is this it? Are there no more sons?' 'Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.' Samuel ordered Jesse, 'Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.'”
Did you notice what David's fathered called him? Runt! No one expected much from a teenage boy working the fields in a distant town. And yet, God saw all the people on Earth and chose him to be the next king of Israel. Isn't it amazing what God sees in us?! No one else saw it in David, and I'm pretty confident that David didn't even see it in himself out in those lonely fields.
I can relate to David. I've had some many moments of loneliness...of doubting if I could be used for anything...of being looked at as inadequate and feeling it on the inside. Most of my life I was told I wasn't good enough. When I became a Christian, I was told I was a hypocrite for many years. To this day, inadequacy and insecurity are my greatest struggles.
In my early twenties, I had big dreams of the perfect courtship to marriage...writing books and preaching all across the world by my thirties...having little ones running around my feet. Now I'm in my early thirties and look back to see a very challenging courtship to marriage...starting over in my career....no children in my near future. I'm honestly so content and at peace with where God has me now. In fact, I'm overwhelmed by His goodness, grace and love everyday. All I can say is this: I stinkin' love my life right now, and it's all thanks to the great and majestic God I serve!
However, I've had to tell myself one thing over and over again though.
TRUST IN THE PROCESS. HIS PROCESS.
If there is one thing I have learned these past five years it has been to trust in God's process and in His timing. I may not be now where I imagined I would be at thirty, but I'm blessed and loving life. Perhaps you are not where you expected to be in life at your current stage, but know that God has a plan for you.
In fact, I want you to say the following sentence to yourself five times:
"I know God has a plan for me."
David was a young boy with no hint of kingship. And yet, look at the life God had in store for him! Imagine that played out in your own life. It encourages me to know that no matter what I've done, God loves me and sees value in me. That He has a plan bigger than I could ever imagine. I rest in knowing He is in control, and I trust in His process, no matter what may come.
If you are feeling right now like you're not where you want to be, and feel lost and forgotten, speak over yourself that you have value and God has a plan.
God sees you. He loves you. And He has a great destiny for you.
As David took care of the task God for him in obscurity, working in the fields, take care of the task God has set before you today, seek Him with all your heart, and trust in His process.
If you're not where you thought you should be right now, you'll get there.
Are you trusting in His process?