I have been thinking of the way the world sees things. A couple of Sundays ago, my father preached a sermon in which he used one of my favorite scriptures, 1 Samuel 16:7:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” (NKJV)
And, because I can . . . another version:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.'” (NLT)
It falls in the middle of the story of the anointing of King David. The story is that the Lord had told Samuel to go visit Jesse the Bethlehemite because He had chosen a king from among his sons. Of course, as all good stories go, the one God had chosen was not the one anyone expected Him to choose.
Isn’t that just like God?
Anyway, all of this came to me this morning because I heard someone give their advice to another person on a dark situation in their life. The person giving the advice is a Christian, but I still found the advice humorous. It wasn’t that the advice itself was funny; it was that it was so unlike God. It was negative, selfish, and rude. And God, who is never rude, selfish, or negative, would never have advised this person to ‘give up’ on something because the road looked dark.
Over the past couple of weeks, my friend Amy has been posting a series of posts on “Suffering and Sunshine.” (There are three posts, and I have linked each post to a separate word in the series title.) The posts and comments are good, and there are varying opinions on whether or not we should “Pray for Sunny Days”, or “Praise God in the Storm”, or both. My opinion? It’s both. Honestly, I don’t like to think of the idea that there will be days when I will have to “Praise God in the Storm.” However, the reality is that I have faced, and likely will face many days like that.
What does all of this have to do with David? Well, being anointed king was just the beginning for him. David spent many years fighting battles and hiding from a man that wanted him dead before he ever saw the fulfillment of God’s promise. When God started searching the hearts of men for someone to replace Saul as King, and as a sidenote, someone that would begin paving the way for His own Son, His search stopped when He saw a humble shepherd boy gently tending his sheep. You see, God wasn’t looking for someone that had physical strength and would look good greeting the people. He was looking for someone who would rely on God for his strength and would look to God when the road was dark. God knew that David was prepared to handle the road ahead. David, of all people, knew exactly how to “Pray for Sunny Days” and “Praise God in the Storm”. Don’t believe me? Read Psalms. The proof is there. In fact, it isn’t just proof, it is encouragement to us. If David could praise God when Saul was trying to kill him, how much more should we praise God when we have a bad day at work, or when our hearts are broken? Because in spite of it all, there is still so very, very much for which we can thank God.
Is your road dark? Don’t give up. Of all of the things you could do right now, the absolute worst thing you could do is to give up on God. Place your hope in Him, and let Him guide you to His promises for your life. I promise that it will be better than you ever dreamed possible!