1st Samuel 9:3-10
3 One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, “Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.” 4 So Saul took one of the servants and traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but they couldn’t find the donkeys anywhere.
5 Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!”
6 But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.”
The story of Saul’s coronation to King of Israel in 1st Samuel is no doubt a fascinating series of events. A wild goose chase, or better said, a stubborn donkey chase. The search for the lost donkeys leads Saul and his father’s servant to the prophet Samuel who, without Saul knowing, is already preparing to anoint and proclaim him as king of all of Israel.
What begins as a major inconvenience and interruption in the day to day life of Saul and the servant turns into one the most epic and unexpecting turns that could happen in anyone's life. There is so much to this story that could be written about, but what I want to focus on in this blog is a simple truth that is often lost in our busy, self-centric culture. When we allow ourselves to be inconvenienced by God, we also allow God to use us in unusual ways. In our modern society, we often build our schedules and lives in such a way that we avoid such distractions and inconveniences at all cost. Like Saul, when we enter the regions of Zuph or simply “foreign territory”, we often are easily discouraged and go back to our “comforts of home” when things become too inconvenient. We rarely stop to think, could God be using the moment of interruption in my life to introduce me to something I was not expecting? For Saul this certainly was the case. Thankfully, his father’s servant was acting as the voice of Holy Spirit in Saul’s life and instead of letting Saul quit when it got too inconvenient, he exhorts Saul. “Let’s push a little farther, and seek the Lord's voice for this disruption in our life.”
What if we treated the disruptions of our lives with the same intentions. God, could you be using this interruption that I did not plan for to position me for a divine engagement or promotion in your kingdom?
If I am being honest, this happens more often than I’d like to admit. I’d like you to believe that I am in total control of my destiny, and that I am totally aware of what God is leading me into at all times. But this is simply not true. In fact, the more willing I am to relinquish control and allow God to speak to me in the inconvenience interruptions of life, the better I position myself for what He is preparing me for. Proverbs explains it like this…
Proverbs 16 : 9
We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.
When we are determined to control the outcome of our lives, we also position ourselves to miss where He has called us to step. For all of Saul’s insecurities and shortcomings as a leader and king, one of his redemptive qualities was his ability to go with the “flow” of where God was leading him. Not to confuse this with being lazy or lackadaisical about God’s plan for your life. Rather being able to adjust and not get stuck when things don’t play out in life like you would expect or prefer. I have heard the beloved Jackie Ragland of Kaleo International say it many times like this…
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall bend but not break”.
The simple truth is that God has great and glorious plans for each of our lives. Sometimes we miss the larger picture because we get stuck in the day to day details. It’s important to understand that it doesn't necessarily need to make sense or seem convenient in the moment in order for it to be God’s plan for your life. In fact, because He is God and you are not, oftentimes you won't be able to fully understand all He is doing in your life until after the fact. No matter how much you think you are in control, or how spiritual you feel you are, there is always an element of mystery in the plans of God for your life, that require you to follow in obedience with faith over reason and convenience (1st Corinthians 2:9). So, instead of getting bent out of shape or frustrated when things are not going according to your plan, take a deep breath and ask the Lord, are you using this moment, in the plans you have for my life? Lord, despite the inconvenience of this disruption in my life, show me how I can go a little farther, and seek a little deeper for your voice in this part of the plan…