How God Prepares a Heart for Greatness

Samuel - Thinking

Samuel - Thinking

Samuel (our son) is now six days old as I write this, and we are already talking about what we’re going to do to prepare him for adulthood. That’s the goal – doing all we can as parents to help him grow up into a well-adjusted, independent, godly young man.

We’re already putting aside money in his college fund. We’ll teach him to drive someday. We’ll educate him, nurture him, feed him, and clothe him. We’ll seek out healthy relationships for him. All of this is an effort to prepare him for maturity and his final release into the world in which we live.

God, however, may strip all of that away in order to prepare his heart.

That may sound tough but think about this:

  • Joseph was born to the large and wealthy family of Jacob, a privileged and preferred son, only to be sold into slavery and forgotten in prison before finally ascending to greatness in Egypt.
  • Moses was reared in the home of Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world at the time. He was trained in the finest schools and had access to the wealth and power of the world, but spent forty years raising sheep in the desert before leading God’s people to freedom.
  • Saul studied at the feet of Gamaliel, was trained as a Pharisee, a keeper of the law in every point. He was born to Roman citizenship and was ascending to power when Jesus blinded him. From then on, he counted all of his past privileges loss for the excellency of knowing Christ.
  • And David was anointed early by Samuel, spent his teen years leading great military campaigns and living in the palace with his best friend, Jonathan. He even married King Saul’s daughter and became a part of the royal family. Then… he lost it all and hid in a cave for his life.

God prepares the heart for greatness in mysterious ways belonging to His wisdom alone. His process of discipleship involves pain, loss, and suffering. This is the tough side of spiritual growth, but it’s God’s way of getting us ready for His ultimate purpose for our eternities.

David suffered five significant losses from 1 Samuel 19 through 22.

  • He lost Saul as a potential mentor and the palace as a home.
  • He lost Jonathan – they never meet again after this.
  • He lost Michal – her affection and devotion.
  • He lost Samuel, never getting to see him again either.
  • He lost his own dignity and acted insane in Gath.


1. HE is worthy of praise.

In loss and suffering, we realize the greatness of God. That is, our own powerlessness reminds us of His awesome power.

2. HE is to be trusted.

Through loss, God keeps His promises. He continues and finishes the work He begins in us.

3. HE is to be feared.

David learned, during this very difficult period of his life, to fear God. And the more we fear God, the less we fear everything and everyone else.

4. We are to walk before HIM.

The reason He spares us is that we will learn to walk before Him, to relate to Him, and to live for Him.

God’s processes of discipleship are totally unlike our own. We can teach people habits to form and patterns to follow. We can equip, instruct, and train. But God disciplines. God alone understands the truest path to greatness is the complete brokenness of the heart and utter dependence upon Himself alone.

This is His goal for us. Are we willing to walk that path?