Reflections from Gideon
Do you feel overwhelmed, unqualified, or "in over your head" at your workplace, with your family members, or in a difficult life situation? Do you feel like God is calling you to do something that is impossible? Or you may wonder what you have gotten yourself into?
Maybe, fear haunts you in the night. It keeps you awake and causes issues with sleeping. Trepidation and anxiety creep into your thoughts, destroying your joy and keeping you constantly on-guard instead of relaxed. You wonder what happened to the simple joys and pleasure because of anxiety and fear, you struggle to quiet down, rest, and simply breathe. Anxiety has a way of following you around, making itself present in every situation of your life.
If you relate to either of those feelings, you may have more in common with Gideon than what you realize. Gideon was found by God, while he was harvesting wheat. And while he was harvesting wheat, he was likely very fearful, very anxious, as his family and community were in a stage of severe oppression from the Midianites. Gideon likely felt like a dark shadow was above them, while the Midianites constantly stole the Israelites' food and took away their peace, safety, and well-being. Gideon likely felt like God had abandoned him and his people. Gideon was afraid, he was hiding, trying to simply make food for his family. Yet even in the winepress, Gideon was anxious, on constant alert, even there he could not rest.
God enters Gideon's mind once again, through an angel, who approaches and says "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Pause for a minute, and imagine God speaking into your life, in this moment, through an angel who says to you "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." How do you feel about God calling you in this way? Are you quick to tell God, I'm not brave, I'm not strong? Or will you accept the new identity he is calling you into? Will you accept God's new identity for you and the power he gives you to rise up in courage to face whatever battle you are facing with new strength and perserverance.
Gideon's response may be one you or I can relate too easily, "Pardon me Lord, but where have you been? If you are here with me, then why have all these awful things happened to me, my family, and my community?"
We may express similar sentiments: "Where were you God when my family went to bed hungry for the night and I prayed to you to deliver food?" "Where were you God when I got raped or abused?" "Where were you God when my parents were fighting and got a divorce?" "Where were you God when someone I love in my family died and I called upon you to save their life, and you did not?" "Where were you God when I needed you?" "Where are your good deeds God?" "Where are the signs of your wonders?"
Satan loves to place doubts of God's goodness, faithfulness, and care for our lives into wounds we have personally suffered into. Satan loves to tell us that our un-answered prayers our evidence of God's lack of care for us. And yet these are only lies from the evil one. These are his best strategies to cause a breach in our relationships of love and trust that we so desperately need to lean into. We cannot believe that God has left us, because of a prayer, we have not seen answered the way we expected it would be. We have to remember that there is a bigger picture of the Universe we are not seeing. And that God is doing everything to show us His love in a thousand ways, and cares more about our hearts, and more about our loved ones than we even do. In the end, we will see the whole story and we will understand, that in our hardest moments, even then God was working hard for our good and our protection. He has not abandoned us.
So the Lord answers Gideon, not explaining where He has been in Gideon's life and in his community. But instead God says, I am providing a way out, I am providing a plan of salvation. But I am calling you Gideon, to help lead your people, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel our of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" God calls Gideon to rise up in courage and to make a change, to do something for Him, not with His own strength but with God's strength. God calls Gideon to help save the Israelites, something Gideon never would have thought of, never could have imagined doing on his own.
So what is God calling you to do? In what area is God calling you to rise up in courage for Him? Is there a place in your life where you feel unqualified, and yet God continues to call you to persevere for Him. Is this a season of anxiety that forces you to run to your knees to surrender everything to God yet again, and let Him remind you that He has you and your mission covered. Just like Gideon, we may feel unqualified, we may feel anxious or unprepared, but just let Gideon, God is calling us to rise up. God is giving us a chance to serve Him in a new way. And just like Gideon, God will give us everything we need to overcome the battle.