The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 1 Samuel 16:1
Nobody likes to lose or fail in life. Losing is more than not winning. It feels shameful. It is very demoralizing. It weakens us and saps our energy. That’s why many people just want to give up and surrender to the tidal wave of life.
Samuel was at that stage when we met him in the above scripture. The king he gave to the people messed up badly and he saw that as a poor judgment on his part. Samuel mourned for Saul because he knew how they met; how he got to know that he was the chosen one. It was so magical, so supernatural. It was an exercise in prophetic accuracy. That Saul failed was a total devastation to Samuel. He couldn’t believe he got it wrong. He mourned for several days.
We fall into that same error sometimes. Experts call it vicarious trauma. It happens when we become traumatized by the tragedies or failure of another; when we take ownership for the pain of another; when we take responsibility for the failure of another. Parents do it for their wayward children; doctors take it for their declining patients; lovers take it for their misbehaving partner. It is part of our shared humanity.
But then there comes a time when we need to let go. There comes a time when we need to live again. And that’s what God was telling Samuel: It is time to dream again.
How do we do that? God told Samuel to fill his horn with oil. In other words, get yourself ready for I’m about to do something new. I’m about to turn a new page.
For you, fill your horn with oil may mean get ready to love again. For another person it may mean get ready to try again. And yet for another, it may mean get ready to go again. Whatever it is, fill your horn with oil means it’s not over yet.
Some people are first time lucky but for the vast majority of us, it may take a few attempts to be lucky. But do you know the interesting part of the story? The man they chose next happened to be the best king ever, the man David; the sweet psalmist of Israel. The one through whose lineage the Savior eventually came.
Whether first try or several attempts already, your best life can still happen!