We had enjoyed an entire afternoon in the full sun while trekking through hills, rocks and at times very slippery terrain in the Niagara gorge, and once we were back up in civilization, we were completely exhausted. The climb up is always the most tenuous, and once home, I headed upstairs for a much needed nap, as I wanted to be in good shape for the worship service lead by Martin Smith that evening.
The brief nap, however, made it all worse. My mind was still foggy, and I was entertaining the immediate menace of an upcoming full-blown headache. I was beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t be better for me to stay home! It’s then that I heard God’s Spirit telling me: “Go! Otherwise you will miss a special opportunity!”
I sure would have. The message of the prodigal son proclaimed during the service touched my heart and I found myself more alive than ever before. It’s as if I had shed my old skin and turned back to my teenage days! Oh no! That might not be so good in the long run, but it did feel good at the time!
Only on God’s dance floor do we truly become alive, and I realized that old age is more an attitude than anything else. If we stand in the presence of God’s grace, we can’t help but be revived, filled with adrenaline, no matter how old we are. Imagine, our God, the King of kings urging us to call Him dad! That’s enough to fill us with excitement!
By the way, the headache evaporated into nothingness during the service. Had I given into my despair, I truly would have missed a golden opportunity of experiencing my Heavenly Dad firsthand.
Jonathan, son of the first King of Israel, never wanted to miss an opportunity to experience God firsthand. One day he told to his arm bearer: “Come on, let’s go over to the Philistine garrison patrol on the other side of the pass.” (1 Samuel 14:1b, MSG) An urge inside his heart made him want to do so.
Once facing the pass that had to be crossed to reach the Philistine garrison, Jonathan couldn’t help but say: “Come on now, let’s go across to these uncircumcised pagans. Maybe GOD will work for us. There’s no rule that says GOD can only deliver by using a big army. No one can stop GOD from saving when he sets his mind to it.” (1 Samuel 14:6, MSG)
We, as humans, would rather stand by the most powerful army in the world when facing our enemies. At least we think we have a better chance of getting the upper hand. Jonathan saw beyond that. He realized that no human army could ever be more powerful than God Himself. A simple pair of men after God’s own heart, who desire to follow their Heavenly Dad through thick and thin, can defeat a powerful army, as long as they stand on the will of God. Jonathan stood trusting in God alone, and that made him and his armor bearer invulnerable!
His armor bearer had no doubt that Jonathan was following God’s directives and he too decided: “I’m with you all the way.” (1 Samuel 14:7c, MSG)
Inspired by God’s presence, Jonathan declared: “Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll cross over the pass and let the men see we’re there. If they say, ‘Halt! Don’t move until we check you out,’ we’ll stay put and not go up. But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ we’ll go right up-and we’ll know GOD has given them to us. That will be our sign.”” (1 Samuel 14:8-10, MSG)
Prince Jonathan didn’t decide on his own to attack the Philistine garrison, which would have ended in an inevitably fatality. He relied on God’s sign, a sign where the enemy would order them to “come up!”
In human’s eyes, Jonathan ploy was a guaranteed suicide. But not to Jonathan, who stood by the banner of the Most High. He was beyond courageous, relying solely on God!
What happens when we stand in faith?
The Philistines ridiculed these two men of faith, crying out: “Look at that! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!” (1 Samuel 14:11, MSG) “Come on up here! We’ve got a thing or two to show you!” (1 Samuel 14:12b, MSG)
The Philistines, Israel’s worst enemy at that time, truly thought that those two crazy men would be easily slaughtered under their hands. No doubt about it!
At the same time, Jonathan had no doubt that God was leading them, and convincingly declared: “Up! Follow me! GOD has turned them over to Israel!” (1 Samuel 14:13b, MSG)
Who do you think was right?
“When the Philistines came running up to them, he knocked them flat. . .” (1 Samuel 14:13b, MSG), yes these two men had no trouble “knocking flat” 20 might Philistine soldiers. That lead to a huge upheaval in the Philistine camp. “That set off a terrific upheaval in both camp and field, the soldiers in the garrison and the raiding squad badly shaken up, the ground itself shuddering-panic like you’ve never seen before!” (1 Samuel 14:15, MSG)
When King Saul heard about the tumult in the Philistine camp, he quickly gathered his army to inspect what was going on. “Saul immediately called his army together and they went straight to the battle. When they got there they found total confusion-Philistines swinging their swords wildly, killing each other.” (1 Samuel 14:20, MSG)
Imagine an army filled with might warriors killing one another and all that because of two men standing in faith!
It’s then that it hit me: We either let our circumstances dominate us or we stand in faith, trusting solely in our Heavenly Dad. We don’t have to live in defeat! Discouragement is truly not part of the arsenal that God has provided us! If we stand in faith and allow God to guide us, nothing will ever deter us. After all, faith can and will move mountains!
“The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ And it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”” (Matthew 17:20, MSG)
No way will I ever miss an opportunity to experience God first-hand ever again. Would you like to come with me and face together our worst nightmare? Believe me, even that will be vanquished when we stand in faith!
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)