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When it’s time for change, we must move forward

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“It’s time” is a phrase said in multiple places — hospital maternity wards, backstage at Broadway shows and sometimes by a loved one’s bedside.

When these words are spoken, there’s a sense of anticipation and urgency. Something is about to happen, whether you desire that something to happen or not. It’s just simply time — time to move on, time to get in gear, time for change.

In 1 Samuel 16, God speaks that truth over the prophet Samuel, who was prophet and high priest for the Israelite people during the reign of King Saul. In the beginning, the relationship between the two — prophet and king — worked well. Saul was humble and gentle, and he followed Samuel’s wisdom. Before long, though, he was listening to the people around him instead of listening to Samuel or to God. He became prideful and arrogant — oblivious to his disobedience, which led to God’s rejection of him as king.

After Samuel confronted Saul with the news that God had chosen another to be king in his place, Samuel left the king, devastated.

You must understand. Samuel loved Saul. The older prophet had groomed the young king in the ways of God for years. He had poured his life into Saul day after day and heartbreakingly had to watch as the king slowly turned from serving God to serving himself.

In the last verse of chapter 15, we find the words: “Nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul.”

Samuel’s heart was broken. He wept for Saul and what was to come in his life and the lives of the people of Israel.

Samuel mourned — and got stuck.

What do I mean that Samuel “got stuck?” Well, if you look at the next verse, I Samuel 16:1, we see God confronting Samuel: “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”

It was time — time for Samuel to stop mourning Saul and anoint a new king. Time for the old prophet to get busy working in the now. It was time for hope, not tears — time for the future of Israel instead of its past to be on Samuel’s mind.

It was time to get up. Time to get unstuck.

Ever been there? It’s easy, isn’t it? Just like Samuel, we get stuck in our sadness, in our inability to change a situation, in our past mistakes. And we sit. We allow things and relationships to send us into a tailspin that lasts much longer than we — or anyone else around us — would like. We find ourselves sitting, instead of acting, bemoaning what “could have been.”

And God lets us — for a time.

And then, He gently comes to us and says, “How long?” How long will we allow the past to dictate our behavior? How long will we be stagnant in our walk with Him, hindered in our efforts for the Lord, because of something that we allow to haunt us?

Can I speak it over you and me, my friend? It’s time.

Time to move forward. Time to seek His face and His way through the study of His Word. Time for acting on what He’s telling you and I to do. Time, not to sit, but to stand and move forward in hope to the upward calling He’s placed on our lives. It’s time.

Prayer: “Father, thank You. Thank You for giving me time to mourn, but also calling me out and into Your hope. Help me seek You through this journey, Lord. I praise You.”

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and