In today’s reading from 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan, son of Saul, says something that I think is very interesting.  He is talking to his armor bearer about going over to the Philistine camp, and he says…

“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer.  “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord.  He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” (1 Sam 14:6)

It may be easy for us to latch on to the “perhaps” and think that Jonathan is displaying some doubt about the Lord’s ability to help; however, what he says next seems to negate that thought.  Jonathan is trusting in the Lord.  He has faith that God can do it… he’s just not saying that God will do it.

Not long ago, I signed up for an app called Timehop.  It looks back through your social media networks and gives you an update each day on the previous years’ worth of status updates, tweets and pictures on that date.  As I’ve been reading through it each day, it’s pretty obvious that two years ago was General Conference in Tampa, FL.

General Conference is the major United Methodist gathering every four years that looks at the Book of Discipline and makes changes to it.  It is the primary legislative body in the UMC.  One of my tweets was something along the lines of, “It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit always seems to be on ‘our’ side.”

I think this kind of attitude is very different from what Jonathan is espousing.  Jonathan acknowledges that it’s his idea, and he wants to see if the Lord will go along with it.  But he’s not so dead-set on the idea that he is going to say that God is with him regardless.

Too often, we claim that God agrees with our ideas, even when that is not the case.  I think we need to have a realistic faith that begins with God’s faithfulness, and not our own desires.  It’s only when we start at this point that we show that we have any faith in the first place, and that we are not just co-opting God’s “opinion” to back up our own.

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