Job gave me this new name awhile back, but this week I've been thinking about it again. I continue to wrestle with something it seems God has called me to...I have doubts, fears and excuses. Yet God brings it up again and again. In places and ways I never expect. Deep in my heart, I know what He wants me to do, but like Gideon I put the fleece out again and again looking for confirmation.
Clearly, we want to make sure it's God leading us and not others pushing us or ourselves directing us, but when God calls, He expects us to follow. We need to be patient and wait on Him, but sometimes I'm guilty of being lazy or fearful and make Him wait on me. That's a role reversal that shouldn't happen. And friend, He won't wait for me, or you, forever.
In the midst of this mental wrestling match, God perfectly timed this weeks Sunday School lesson - we're studying Gideon, my namesake. I've found myself digging in a bit deeper about this man my husband compared me to and though I've read this account countless times God is teaching me a new lesson for the first time.
In Judges 6:12 I read, "When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." I underlined "mighty warrior" and read on. I stopped again when I came to verse 15 - "Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
While I was reading words on paper, God was speaking to my heart. Friend, look for a minute at the contrast between how Gideon saw himself and how God saw him. Gideon is already disqualifying himself because of his background and status. Weak and the least are the two words he chooses to describe himself. This is about opposite of the words the angel of the Lord uses to address him. So let me ask, what response do you give God when He calls you? Like Gideon, and me, do you label yourself based on status or strength? Past performance or appearance or ability?
Let me remind you, and me,...God does not see us the way we often see ourselves. He sees our potential. He sees our heart. He doesn't define us by our looks or call us according to our qualifications. He identifies us as His own and chooses us because He is sovereign. He isn't looking for a beautiful body, but a humble heart. He doesn't need someone with a perfect past, but one who will be faithful in the future. God knows who we are and wants us to believe we can be who He created us to be.
Though this was true for Gideon, he, as an earthly man, still needed confirmation. He put God to the test and set out fleece, not once, but twice. I don't know the why's behind his actions, but I know my heart and as I've studied Gideon I've been convicted. I've been setting out the fleece.
Now I haven't sheared one of my dad's sheep and literally put this into practice, but I've looked to others to confirm what God's already said. I've pushed the pause button thinking perhaps that's an idea for later in life. I've let doubt win, forgot who I am in God's eyes and doubted not only myself, but Him.
Friend, I don't know if you've ever been called "Gideon", but if you've ever felt or acted like him, can I encourage you? God is faithful. He is a promise-keeper. He will do what He says He will do. Don't believe me? Read the rest of Gideon's story in Judges 6-8.
In Chapter 6 verse 16 we read, "The Lord answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'" God not only did this, He did it with methods that were out of the ordinary. I need to remember the same God who worked so powerfully in Gideon's life is willing and able to do the same in mine. How about you?
Friend, today will you join me in really listening...the God who spoke to, called and worked through Gideon has work for us to do as well. Let's spend time with Him, look for Him and be prepared to hear from Him. When He speaks, may we each listen and believe what He has to say. And then friend, perhaps the most challenging step of the process, let's do our part and walk in obedience.
I write this post because it's one I've needed to hear...just last night one of my girls was grumbling a bit about some chores. In an attempt to avoid the work, she kept asking questions, making suggestions and simply avoiding the work. As my frustration level grew, I simply said, "Honey, sometimes you just need to quit asking questions and do what you're told." Those words came out of my mouth and I froze. Granted I haven't been asking questions about dishes, baking or household chores, but I have avoided doing something God has asked me to do.
In the past I've found myself frustrated thinking about being compared to our friend with the fleece, but today as I think about our God, the One who chose and used Gideon, I'm encouraged. Friend, I pray you are too!
Now, you "Mighty Warrior", chosen child and gifted girl go do what you are told!! (If I just sounded like your mom, I'm sorry!!)