Speaking of our elementary school… It’s only a block or so from our house, but I never drive by it.
Why? You might ask.
Speed bumps! I would answer.
Unless I am going to the school for an event, I avoid that section of Caley Road at all cost. As I do with Keebler and several other roads in our area. I will take the long way around (even if it takes more time) because I do not like my sense of movement to be interrupted!
Nothing hinders “rest” in our lives than bumps in the road. We had a plan, we saw the vision of where we were headed, and we were moving in that direction at a good pace. But then ughhh – something came up and slowed us down. We think we’ve finally got it together, but a change in circumstances stalls the progress. Or someone we thought we could depend on isn’t coming through with their piece of the puzzle. We like our plans to work out and when they don’t seem to be, we get restless.
As a speed bump avoider, I can relate to King Saul’s predicament in 1 Samuel 13. Having gathered troops for battle with the Philistines, Saul’s instructions were to wait for the prophet Samuel, who would offer a sacrifice to the Lord before the battle. The massive Philistine army had approached and encamped, and Saul’s troops were “quaking with fear”. So…
He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. (v. 8)
Ughhh. Speed bump. This was not part of the plan! With his chances of winning the battle shrinking by the minute, he had to get things moving.
So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. (v. 9)
Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
“What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (v. 10-12)
Like Saul, my restlessness always leads to me feeling “compelled”. Compelled to speed things up a little. Compelled to keep moving to avoid the angst of sitting still. Compelled to take things into my own hands.
“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (v. 13-14)
That “man after [the Lord’s] own heart” was David, the writer of these words:
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. (Psalm 38:15)
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1)
When we trust, we rest. There’s no fast-track to God’s plan, and I’ve found that more often than not, He builds the bumps into our routes to force the drop in speed and, in that, reveal whether our hearts are after His plans or our own.
What’s your “Samuel” today?
God, I thought ________________ was part of the plan and that it would have happened by now. Help me to trade my restlessness for trust so I’m no longer compelled to do things my own way. Amen.