image courtesy of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul was waiting for Samuel to come prepare a burnt offering before the coming battle. Saul was not to fight before the sacrifice and had to wait seven days. On the seventh day, the troops were getting scared, so Saul takes matters into his own hands.
Often people criticize Saul for his pride wanting himself to look good before his army. He feared the people so decided not to trust Samuel’s word. But, let me defend him for a moment. Samuel was just a man. Circumstances looked bad. As king, Saul had to consider the people he was leading. If Samuel didn’t come and the sacrifice didn’t happen, fear would have crept into the men, and they would not have been prepared for the battle. Many lives would have been lost. He had to consider that, right?
When I was in full-time ministry, one of the staff teams had sought God for some goals for which to trust Him. We felt that He led us to believe Him for some specific things. We prayed and planned accordingly. As the year began winding down, the goals were looking as if they would go unfulfilled. The leadership decided a decision needed to be made: do we continue to push through to the end or prepare for failure to protect the young hearts of those we were leading? The latter was chosen.
Who Are We Protecting?
What I have learned is that many Christians are not willing to pray for God’s miracles because they fear getting people’s hopes up only for God not to show up. Therefore we guarantee the lack of miracles in the name of protecting others. We forget that God protects the things that we bring before Him.
But like Saul, is our goal of protecting others really just an effort to protect ourselves? If God doesn’t come through, everyone will think I’m a failure. We need to realize God would rather we appear to have failed by stepping out in faith, then guaranteeing failure by not stepping out at all. Abundant life is not found by sitting on the sidelines.