Today’s Reading: Samuel 8:1-9; 9:37-10:1
One year in college, I served as the Chair of Social Life on my dorm’s student board. As my term neared its end, I remember getting pretty stressed out about the next person taking over – surely they wouldn’t be able to plan a pizza party as well as I would! It’s silly and easy to laugh at now as I look back at it, but in the moment, it was really hard for me to give up that little bit of power!
Giving up power doesn’t come easily to most of us. We grasp onto power and control because it gives us the illusion of safety. Sometimes this comes out in big ways, more often, we see it in small things, things we don’t even notice. Maybe we see that struggle for control in the particular way we clean the bathroom that no one else seems to get quite right. Maybe we see it in the way we micromanage our significant other or children. Or maybe we see it in the way we strive for absolute perfection with our work, never cutting ourselves any slack.
For me, I’ve felt the stress that comes with loss of power and control especially strongly with this stay-at-home order. I imagine that this has been hard for many of you, too. It’s really hard to not be in control of where we able to go and when! We can’t eat out when we’d like to or go to the beach or to the movies, we can’t go to church in the way we are used to. This is a really challenging time.
Samuel, too, lived at a time of great unease, surrounded by war. The people around him added to his stress by demanding massive change – they wanted Samuel to enact a whole new system of governing by anointing a king. For Samuel, that meant giving up his position of power as a judge. As challenging as it must have been, Samuel did just that. After much prayer, he anoints Saul as king of God’s people.
In releasing some of his own power, Samuel teaches us that it’s okay for us, too, to relinquish control and trust that God is good. It’s a reminder to us that we suffer less when we strive to be flexible, rather than rigid and fight what we cannot control. I am grateful for this reminder to trust today. As we look ahead to another month of staying home, may we all trust that God is good and is working for good in all of this. My prayer for us all this day is that we can loosen our grasp on the things that are already out of our control and instead put our energy into being present with and for others.