It was dark. It was cold. Our phones had no service. And there was panic in the air.
Thirty kids huddled together in groups for warmth, while our leaders, kids themselves, tried walking first this way and then that way, communicating in nervously clipped statements over walkie-talkie.
We were the Trailblazers Pathfinder club. We were on a hike while on our winter camping trip.
And we were lost.
Some of the younger kids were crying. Some of them were panicking. Some of them, I’m sure, were praying.
But I was chilling. I wasn’t scared at all. I was actually having fun.
It didn’t cross my mind for a second that we might be seriously lost. I was confident the older kids and our Pathfinder leader would figure this out eventually. No way would we be up on this mountain forever. It was only a matter of time.
What was this strange confidence? Was it childishness? Extreme optimism? Stupidity? Faith?
Was it something like the confidence we see in Judges chapter 13?
Would it eventually come to the same conclusion?
There are two types of people
Judges 13 tells the story of a married couple, an Israelite couple, living with the rest of Israel under the rule of the Philistines.
The man’s name is Manoah, and although the Bible authors chose not to give us the name of his wife, they almost don’t have to. She makes her mark.
An angel comes to her (not her husband) one day and tells her she’s going to have a baby. The angel gives her a bunch of unusual instructions for how to take care of herself during the pregnancy, and for how to raise the child (verses 3-5).
It’s all very odd. A visit from an angel? A mysterious list of rules? Add this on top of the fact that she has no children – she’s never been able to have them. If there was ever a time to pull out the skeptic hat, it would be now.
But Manoah’s wife doesn’t question or scoff or vacillate. She says “Okay”, and tells her husband.
Her husband on the other hand? He’s not buying it. He needs to double – no – triple confirm this message. He prays for the angel to come back. He makes the angel repeat everything they said the first time around. And then, just when it seems like it’s finally sinking in, he throws a fit.
“We are doomed to die! We have seen God!”verse 22
But Manoah’s wife simply and logically reminds him that they couldn’t die and raise a son at the same time.
And so they do – the latter, that is. Manoah’s wife gives birth. They raise a healthy boy. Manoah finally calms down. His wife had been calm for a long time.
I wish I had faith like Manoah’s wife. I wish I trusted God the way she did.
At one time, I thought it would be easy to have her kind of faith. I’ve grown up in the church. I have been taught stories and reminders and principles about God from babyhood until now. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. I have believed I had a strong relationship with God.
But all I have to do is wake up in the morning, and I’m faced with contradictions and doubts and other opinions and personal stories and so much more.
And it causes me to doubt. It shakes my faith. It makes me feel funny. It makes me wonder if I could be wrong.
I don’t feel calm or firm or confident, like Manoah’s wife. I feel more like her husband. I need to double check and triple confirm. I feel quivery. I panic.
Woe is me, right? God stands above me, tsk-tsking at me for not having enough faith, doesn’t He? I won’t be blessed with that attitude, will I?
“I will prove to you that I am trustworthy.”
Manoah doubted and freaked, questioned and whined. But God didn’t snap at him or rebuke him or even exclude him.
My God answered Manoah’s questions. He soothed Manoah’s fears. He hushed Manoah’s whimpers. And then He did exactly what He said He would.
God’s character is not affected by our faith. It doesn’t require anything on our part – God just is trustworthy. He doesn’t need our certainty. He will show us who He is.
And it is exactly that quality of His that will strengthen our faith.
It is God’s trustworthiness that makes us less like Manoah and more like his wife. As He shows Himself to us, we are amazed by His power. We are convinced of His love. We come face to face with His wisdom.
We realize we can trust Him. We see we can trust Him as absolutely as I trusted that we would find our way back to camp. We believe we can trust Him as firmly as Manoah’s wife did. And then we do.
So turn your focus away from yourself. Don’t stress yourself out or scare yourself over whether or not you’re as certain as you should be.
God will meet you where you are. Tell Him your fears, ask Him your questions, be honest with Him about your doubts. And then sit back and watch.
I promise you won’t be lost anymore.
I promise you everything will begin to change.
What do you think? Are you more like Manoah or more like his wife?