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Faith or testing?

I started reading 1 Samuel a couple of days ago, and so this morning I was in chapters 4-7. The Israelites are living in idolatry and immorality, evidenced by the corrupt priests, and so when they go out to war against the Philistines, they lose, badly. The solution, they suppose, is to go and grab the Ark of the Covenant, which was given to Israel as a sign of God’s abiding presence with his people, forgetting that God will never allow Himself to be toted around like a magic talisman, and once again, the Israelites are routed, and the Ark is  captured by the Philistines.

The rest of the story is pretty famous, the ark is moved from Philistine town to Philistine town, each time causing disease and destruction in its wake. After seven months of this, the Philistines have had enough, and they send the Ark back to Israel, happy to see it go. However, when the Philistines see that all of Israel had gathered together to worship upon the return of the ark, they set out to attack the Israelites once again. This time, the Israelites repent of their sins, and ask Samuel to mediate for them, and as they do so, the LORD goes out and fights against the Philistines, defeating them as easily as they had defeated Israel.

The study notes in my Bible read thusly, “Samuel sets up a memorial stone…as a reminder of the different results brought about by presumption on the one hand, and repentance on the other.” This got me thinking this morning.

It’s a tricky thing, to recognize the difference between presumption and faith. When are we stepping out on faith, and when are we testing God? Currently, we’re at a point in our support raising where we need to make some major decisions. We’ve been accepted into language school. We have a house!

Our house in Albertville
Our house in Albertville

Language school starts January 5th. Our visas, should they be approved, will allow us to enter the country January 1. Which means we need to buy plane tickets very soon. At times, this feels presumptuous. We are 80% of the support we need to actually make the move. We still need about $1,600 per month before we can leave to be pledged. Some days, this doesn’t seem like very much at all. Other days, I wonder how on earth we’re ever going to get to 100% by December.

What’s presumption, what’s faith? I don’t always know.

What I do know is this. God has opened a number of doors for us, doors that would lead us to believe we should be preparing to go to France this January. We’ve met with a bunch of folks these last two months, and we’ve got several more meetings ahead. We still firmly, and completely, believe that God has called us to France, and will provide for us to get there. I also know that, should we not be able to go this January, that the above things are still true, and we needn’t worry about timing.

So that’s where we are. Thank you for your prayers.

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