God asks a rhetorical and slightly sarcastic question to Samuel, the prophet: “How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel?” Like us, Samuel is depressed that the old king failed. It’s painful to admit that the old regime is done. But God won’t let us wallow our pity-party forever. “I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,”announces the Lord, “for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” Samuel finally goes and anoints the young David as the new king. And his kingdom is glorious; it’s the golden age of Israel’s earthly history.
How discouraging to see that my own selfish ego is no longer in charge! How long will I grieve that money, power, pleasure, and reputation have been rejected as the ruler of my life? How wonderful that God has a new future in store for you and me. He is sending us to Bethlehem to anoint the new David as our king. His kingdom won’t fail us. He’ll slay our goliaths, unite our dispersed energies, and build a Temple where God himself will dwell.
So how long will you grieve? How long?
— Father John Muir