Gazing Uphill: two ways to react to things that are too hard


“…Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So…Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.”

1 Samuel 13:8-9

“…Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, ‘Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win the battle whether He has many warriors or only a few.'”

1 Samuel 14:6


These two chapters of 1 Samuel tell two very different stories that paint an important contrast. The first is of Saul, king of Israel, who sees the battle before him, watches his resources dwindle, and panics. The second is of Jonathan, who sees the same enemy and charges ahead with only his armor-bearer.

Two men, clambering uphill and fighting as they went, took down every soldier in their path. God sent an earthquake for good measure and the entire Philistine army retreated before them. Jonathan did not have the resources for the battle any more than Saul did, but he had in view a God who does not depend on numbers.

Saul’s actions were based on fear over how few men he’d have to fight with. Jonathan’s were based on the confidence that if the Lord fought the battle, he had all he needed with just his armor-bearer.

Daily I’m faced with the same choice: what will I weigh as the bigger factor? God or something else? Will I see all the worries of my situation or all the possibilities of a limitless God? There are two ways to react to things that are too hard: I can do the math and panic and try to handle it myself, or I can remember that I don’t have to handle it myself, because whatever it is, it is not too hard for Him.

May I learn to make decisions like Jonathan, where I cast my life upon God’s power and goodness rather than dishonor Him because the situation didn’t look perfect. May I see my advantages melting away and refuse to fear because He does not need those advantages to care for me.

May I, like Jonathan, be willing to fight an outnumbered, uphill, impossible battle because I have a clear view of my God and I know He is looking for someone who’s willing to trust Him and He does not need perfect situations or even playing fields.



Mold me to be a servant after your own heart: to love you more than certainty, to follow you rather than perfect circumstances.

It’s crazy to leave solid jobs and go romp overseas hoping to make a difference, especially with an unsure income and a baby in tow. But I believe you will use our lives to show people how worthy and powerful you are – that it’s worth casting away fear and following you, outnumbered, uphill, into the unknown, wherever you may lead, because you are so much more than anything else the world has to offer.

You are enough for our souls, and nothing else – no security or perfect situation or realization of our highest goals – ever can be.

Our hearts will regret where we let fear hinder us from following your lead, from waiting on your timing. 

So make me good at following at you and consistent at listening to your voice. That is the best set of qualities I can ask for. I do not want a predictable, low-risk, strategic life, but a life that dives into knowing you and jumps at the chance to see you work; a life that cares little for other ambitions, but cares fiercely about trusting you, about being loyal to you, about honoring your name; a life that made its decisions saying, “perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder Him.”

Remind my heart this day, as I gaze uphill, that what is too hard for me is not too hard for you. 


 “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

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