Talking about Jonathan’s daring attack on the Philistines in 1 Samuel 14, Erwin McManus (in Chasing Daylight) writes,
Jonathan had an unwavering confidence in God’s capacity. He had absolute trust in God’s character. He seemed resolute about whether God could be trusted. That was settled for him. Jonathan’s focus was not, What is God’s will for my life? but How can I give my life to fulfill God’s will?
(If you’re not familiar with that particular episode in Israel’s history, go read 1 Samuel 13:16 – 14:23 to see where this is coming from.)
Have you ever thought about the difference in these two questions? With the best of intentions, we often want to know What is God’s will for my life? And while there are some cases where God gave explicit directions to individuals in Scripture, more often than not, we don’t get a road map as much as we get a compass. This can be a maddening question to ask. I know… I’ve asked. What do You want me to do? Where do You want me to go?
The trouble comes when the still small voice isn’t very informative. What does it mean when I don’t see the burning bush? Am I missing something if I don’t hear the voice from Heaven telling me to go back to Egypt or to go west, young man? If the voice just keeps saying “I love you, son, now go love people my way so they’ll know I love them, too.” does that mean there’s something wrong with my ability to follow more specific instructions?
Maybe there is. It’s a real possibility that there is some pride or worry or other sin that is in the way of my hearing or yours. We need to be seeking God’s work to remove these obstacles in our lives. But maybe there’s another possibility…
Maybe the “for my life” part of the question needs to be dropped. Maybe we already know what God’s will is (it’s plastered all over the walls of Scripture in case you’ve missed it), and we need to work out how to give our lives to it. Jonathan knew that God was in the process of establishing Israel in order to reveal His blessing to the world, so he picked up his sword and went for a walk toward the enemy camp. Just so we’re clear, this was not a brilliant new strategic battle plan! Neither was it an act of obedience to a direct command from God. It was one small act of a man giving his life to fulfill God’s will. It was a match lit in accord with what God wanted that God fanned into a flame that He used to display His might. It was an attempt to try something that would open people’s eyes to what God could do.
Today, God is working to redeem the world around you. How can you give your life to that endeavor today? In your neighborhood? In your school or work? Sometimes, you just have to try something ~ to make an attempt. God’s capacity is still infinitely more than you can imagine. He’s still able to save “whether by many or by few.” What are you going to try?