1 Samuel 13:7-14 Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”
Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt obliged to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have disobeyed the command of the Lord your God. Had you obeyed, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your dynasty must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.
As I read this passage September 26th of 2008 I thought, “Why was Saul disciplined for this? It seems like such a reasonable thing to do. Samuel did not show up when he said he would and so Saul took things into his own hands.” But then I realized this passage is about trust. It did not matter that Saul’s army was fleeing. God could have saved all of Israel with Saul’s one sword. Saul was to be “a man after God’s own heart.” This meant he was to trust and keep on waiting for Samuel to show up.
I confess it is hard to live with the kind of trust God asked of Saul. At that point in our lives we had been waiting for the sale of our house in Calgary. We had already purchased the right place in Vancouver and already taken possession of that place. In one sense, it seemed like God wasn’t showing up on time. I wanted to take things into my own hands. That Friday morning it dawned on me that this experience was about trust. God could take care of us whether our house sold or didn’t sell. If God wanted us to plant missional communities in Vancouver He would make a way.
Later that morning I had the opportunity to pray with about eight new friends in a training session that I had been leading all week. I told them that over one hundred people were praying for the sale of our house. I didn’t want these 8 people to pray for the sale of our house. I wanted them to pray that God would allow us to do His Kingdom work in Vancouver and that I would be able to continue to wait upon God and trust Him whether our house sold or not. And they did pray this with me.
A few hours later, a family fell in love with our house, made an offer, and our house was conditionally sold by 10:00 pm Friday night. On that same day Maureen was offered a position with a company in Vancouver. The job for which she had interviewed had been made even better by some changes to the duties and salary. Maureen accepted the offer.
Today, as I sit in Vancouver very much in the midst of planting a new community of faith (www.LifeHouseCC.ca) I realize that it is once again about trust. Sometimes I find it hard to trust that God is going to provide all that we need to plant a network of simple churches in Vancouver. But I will keep on doing what the Lord has asked us to do and I will keep on trusting. He has shown time and time again that He can be trusted.