When 1 Samuel 16:7 Rescues a Disappointing Life

crossingI’m not where I hoped to be.

That’s a common phrase amongst us, but there are seasons that echo it louder than others.

It used to be that when I looked around and saw others living larger lives than mine, I’d console myself with the knowledge that they were older than I. You’re young. Just give it a few more years, I’d say. Then I’ll be there.

Didn’t happen.

Well, I overstate. Getting a bachelor’s degree and being almost out of debt from it is an elephantine blessing. I could certainly be in worse health. I’m not desperately miserable at work. The list goes on. I’ve known for a while that there will always be someone better off, and that chasing that is chasing after the wind.

But the battle rose to a new pitch recently when I took another look around at the powerful men surrounding me and realized with a start…they’re all my age.

When did that happen? Seminary degrees. Pilot’s licenses. Racks of gear. Racks of the four-legged variety. Understanding of cars, land usage, and home remodeling (I’m sure the chance to learn that particular “Montana cred” is still ahead of me). Large, happy-looking families that are interested in God and missions. Strong character. A deep knowledge of the Word.

And they’re my age.

That will kick off a crisis in the untrained.

I haven’t made any huge mistakes; life has just turned out…rather ordinary. And I couldn’t believe these guys were only my age…and even younger! With one guy in particular, I would have sworn from his knowledge, his confidence, and his graying hair, that he’s at least forty-five. Nope. Thirty-three. (He’s gray because he has kids.)

Now, God has managed over the years to ram through my thick skull a morbidly comforting secret: they, too, face the temptation to covet. We all do. Neither their gear, their accomplishments, nor their families are consistently and perfectly satisfying them. God is, or nothing is.

But what to do when that truth gets a little stale?

Maybe we don’t value all the same things, but I’ll wager you have your disappointments still.

What to do when God’s plan for your life doesn’t look amazing?

God perfectly timed a podcast in my direction that warned against the diabolical, understated destructiveness of envy. I will not yield to it. God is doing what he pleases with those men. My job? Be an adult, affirm them, and give thanks that I won’t be perishing in any eternal flames.

But God, in his graciousness, gave me still more.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

We’ve known the story since childhood. Samuel is headed by divine destiny for a collision with the youngest son of Jesse, a guy called David. But first, he meets Jesse’s other sons, starting with Eliab. On the outside, Eliab has the look of a king. On the inside…different story.

I’m not saying the men I admire are Eliabs. Quite the contrary. Their hearts are admirable.

I’m saying that this week, God retasked 1 Samuel 16:7 into terrific news for my not-really-a-midlife-crisis: anyone’s heart can be changed, and that’s all God wants. Anyone’s heart can be molded into a treasure through Christ’s transforming work in their inner being. All we need to do is surrender to it and seek it. You needn’t be a pastor, missionary, CEO, politician or anything else to get this. You need only be a Christian.

The truth about God’s amazing plan for your life is that it requires God’s definition of amazing. It’s the world, not God, that defines “amazing” in terms of talent, visibility, possessions, or wage. People in desperate need of Christ exist in every department store, restaurant, factory, and office complex in the world. Therefore, God sends his people to those places. Only when we define ourselves by the world’s standards do those missions look substandard.

Unless you assumed God just doesn’t care about the soul of the guy manning the fryer for minimum wage.

If you’ve left God behind because an “amazing plan” never materialized, you missed Scripture’s promise. God’s plan for our lives is to learn joy in every circumstance, become more like Christ, and become a light to the world. The plan is either on the inside or driven by it. So there’s nothing of eternal significance that can’t be done from your current station. God has seen to that. What kind of God would he be if he were limited to using certain people? No, it glorifies him to use all types.

This may also be why you’ve experienced suffering. Scripture also tells us that pain squeezes the juice of visible joy and righteousness from us. It’s not pleasant…until others see it and go, “Hey…that Christian isn’t destroyed by hard times! What’s their secret?” Lead someone to Christ and tell me that’s not an “amazing plan”.

Shall we diminish God’s power by putting ourselves down because of our current station? May it never be.

Run back to Jesus, friend. He still wants to use you.

50 thoughts on “When 1 Samuel 16:7 Rescues a Disappointing Life

  1. Well, this was definately Holy Spirit written! You have touched hearts and minds today!
    Just when you think what you do doesn’t matter, the Holy Spirit engages a fellow Christian to write and prod hearts for Christ.
    Thank you my brother in Christ

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: When 1 Samuel 16:7 Rescues a Disappointing Life — Brandon J. Adams – DatingDisabled.org

  3. Ah…. the ever inquisitive and inpatient mind. You’re right, God does look at our hearts and He knows the end from the beginning. You’ll do fine Brandon, He has doors ready for you that you aren’t even aware of. Many blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m excited when a truth is revealed in a way that shows God’s loving care of us. In His presence is peace, living the life and walking the unique walk we each are given. God’s ways uplift and encourage us, always! Your words are inspired and your post is a welcome blessing to this awesome day!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “The truth about God’s amazing plan for your life is that it requires God’s definition of amazing..Only when we define ourselves by the world’s standards do those missions look substandard.” Plus, it always seems that I have to scroll so stinkin’ far down the page to comment on your posts–that should clue you how much you IMPACT people, just from this blog. Yikes, I think I’ll just reblog it….again. (Honestly, the temptation to feel obscure, mediocre, and futile doesn’t necessarily go away in your late 50’s either, so you might as well conquer it now, little brother.)

    Liked by 3 people

      • Okay, let’s talk about why you get so many comments. That would most likely be because you write things that are worth commenting on, inspire, impact, and influence. Not everyone has that gift. Please consider that.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Well, I can certainly think of people who do more. Anyway, I’ll let this go because I don’t want to look like I’m fishing for encouragement…so I’ll simply say thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Funny how I was mulling over this issue in my latest post too, God knows our hearts so well. The struggle to feel adequate and lacking contentment probably resonates with believers because we all will have a life-long struggle with one or other form of idolatry -even if it’s ourselves- until we are made perfect in Him. Thanks for this post and pointing us to scripture, Jesus is reminding me again and again to keep my eyes on His face. Don’t you just love how 2 Cor 4 speaks to the heart of this issue as well?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You meet us right where we are Brandon… I just re-read this and it hits home. It can be so hard to just run the race and keep my eyes on the path God has for me… and not look at how much better the guy in the lane next to me is doing. It’s good to know I’m not alone… but more important to be reminded to keep my eyes on the Prize! Thanks again! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a wonderful post! I’m so glad that dawnlizjones reblogged this.

    By the way, you are younger than my youngest son. But I am still learning these things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Therefore, there is a reason why I have been suffering in my heath for over three months now. Somebody needs to know that God is still with us no matter what we go through! Going through the pain, having the continual seizures, and coming out still praising the Lord telling somebody that you still pray will always have an influence on another life.

    It’s called running the race by faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: When 1 Samuel 16:7 Rescues a Disappointing Life – In God's Service

  11. I am glad I came back to read some more Brandon. It is easy to see God using your hand as His to encourage and lift up your brother, (sister too!) For me when I heard the message and it dropped down into my heart, our Father is an abundant Father and He doesn’t have to take from me to bless someone else. He is more than enough! When I “feel” covetness coming over me, I speak it forth, bless them LORD for I know You don’t take from me to give to them! Bless them abundantly!! Such a good post! God bless young man, He is using you abundantly!!

    Liked by 1 person

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