The Jonathan Factor; Wednesday Wisdom

One of my favorite stories in the Bible talks about Saul, his son Jonathan and their impending war with the Philistines (1 Samuel 14).  In 1 Samuel 14 we find Saul and Jonathan in a dire situation as they only have two weapons for their entire army; one sword for Saul, and one sword for Jonathan.   The Philistines have them completely outmanned and overpowered.  Saul is procrastinating and doesn’t want to do anything.  He knows what he’s supposed to do, but he doesn’t do it.

In the middle of the night Jonathan wakes up his armor bearer and says, “let’s go over to the Philistine side, perhaps God will act.”

What I love the most about this story is that Jonathan didn’t know whether or not he would succeed or fail. He also didn’t know whether God would give him victory or if he would die in the effort.  He just knew that sleeping through life was not the solution.

Sleeping through life was not an option for Jonathan, so he got up and picked a fight.  He went to accomplish what God wanted to get done.  He didn’t know if in this moment God would come through, but he knew that somebody just needed to do something.

A significant part of our spiritual journey is taking initiative and doing something. We can’t just sit passively by and sleep through life if we want to experience the full, beautiful life that Jesus talked about and lived.  There is so much good to do, so many opportunities to “bring heaven to earth” and so many areas where we can be proactive, take initiative, and see God work more powerfully in our lives and in the lives of others.

Often we use prayer as an excuse not to act.  I myself am definitely guilty of this.  We use a sense of waiting on the Lord as an excuse not to act, but really what’s going on sometimes is that God is waiting on us.  Sometimes the best advice we can get is to take action, to just do something.

Fear often stops me from doing things that require me to take a risk, and fear undoubtedly stops me from doing great things.

I was recently reminded that it says “Do not be afraid,” or some variation of that phrase 365 times in the Bible.   I could definitely use that advice 365 times a year, one reminder each day….

Have you ever felt as if God or your higher power has led you to the edge of a cliff and said, “Ok, one more step?”  That one step farther, that one step where it’s absolutely unclear to you and absolutely clear to God is where you will undoubtedly seize that divine moment you may have been waiting for and do great things and help bring heaven to earth.

For discussion of the phrase “do not be afraid” being used 365 times in the Bible refer the book, “Saintly Solutions to life’s Common Problems: From Anger, Boredom, and Temptation to Gluttony, Gossip, and Greed” by Joseph M. Esper.

For more on the concept of “Seizing Your Divine Moment,” and “The Jonathan Factor” please refer to the excellent book “Seizing Your Divine Moment” by Erwin Mcmanus.

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One Response to The Jonathan Factor; Wednesday Wisdom

  1. Karen Kol says:

    I so love this. “Sleeping thru life is not the solution.” So many times I have thought that I am supposed to wait on God for an answer. Thank you for reminding me that I need to act.

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