Under Pressure

Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier,
but Samuel still didn’t come.
Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away.
1 Samuel 13:8 nlt
Last weekend, I had to have a medical procedure done.  It was considered routine for the issues I’ve been having, but it certainly wasn’t a routine part of my life.  When things like this happen, it really makes me re-evaluate how much control I actually have over my life.  In some situations, it doesn’t matter how much money, persuasion, good looks or success a person has, the outcome can not be controlled by human means.  In  my experience, those are also the situations in which it is easiest to surrender control to God.  The circumstances are beyond our control.
The really challenging moments are the ones that appear to be within my control.  Family dynamics, job performance, navigating romantic relationships and friendships, finances, etc.  The kind of thing that comes to mind is the ethical dilemma of “stealing bread to feed your starving family.”  Those types of daily challenges quietly and consistently try to convince me that I don’t need a savior because I can be the savior.
In the book of 1 Samuel, Saul is dealing with exactly that kind of pressure as Israel’s king.  He had formed an army of special forces comprised of 3,000 men.  2,000 of those men, under Jonathan’s (Saul’s son) direction attacked and defeated the Philistine outpost.  In response, the Philistines mustered their army comprised of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and as many warriors as the grains of sand along the seashore.  When Saul’s 3,000 men saw the force they were up against, the Bible says they lost their nerve entirely and most of them ran away, hid or escaped.  Only 600 remained.

Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear.  Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come.  Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away.  (1 Samuel 13:7+8)

At that time, God’s command was that only a Priest could sacrifice offerings, which is why Saul was waiting for Samuel.  But as Saul sat there watching his troops wilt, he decided to take matters into his own hands and sacrificed the burnt offering and peace offering himself.  Under the pressure of uncertainty, his faith faltered and he chose to “steal the bread” rather than pray for it.  Had he just waited a couple more hours, he would have been able to witness how complete God’s power and love are.  Saul’s moment of mistrust led to the end of his dynasty as God chose another king whose desire was to rule in honor of God, seeking His will.

The moments of uncertainty in life expose me to be just like Saul.  How well do I tolerate an uncomfortable situation?  Do I pause and let the moment sharpen me, trusting that God’s will WILL be done or do force my will on my timetable?  In comfort or in pain, within my grasp or out of my hands, God always calls me to respond the same: in pursuit of God’s heart.

Challenge: When under pressure, I will resist my urge to immediately stop the discomfort and instead embrace it as a moment to witness God’s miraculous love and power.  I will pray for wisdom and believe He will give me the answers I need to move forward in His will.


Lord, I am after YOUR HEART.  May your will be done and let your grace, power and truth be evident to all.  Please teach me to be still and keep my eyes on you in the moments that my inner control freak wants to act.  You are faithful and you will not forsake me!  Amen.

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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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