Big or small, God has a way of calling us to do something that is outside our comfort zones. For example, I do not consider myself a public speaker. In fact, when I was younger just the idea of being up in front of people (even a classroom of friends) would make me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. Yet, there have been a few times within the last year that God has given me the opportunity to speak in front of people. What I can say without any doubt is knowing my history of stage fright it was only through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that I was able to do it! Just the process of preparing my talk was such an incredible experience of growth for me. This was because I knew that God wanted me to do it even though it was so far out of my strengths. But even with the conviction of knowing that God wanted me to do those talks, during my preparation I would fluctuate between confidence and uncertainty. One day I would feel totally empowered and ready to do it and the next I would wonder if I had a moment of insanity when I said "yes." For you, it may not be public speaking but I'm sure you can relate to the roller coaster we go on when God puts new experiences in front of us. Today, I want to continue looking at Gideon's call and the roller coaster he was on. Please use the link and read Judges 6:33-40.
As I was reading through these verses this morning, I was struck by verse 34 (NLT), "Then the Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him." I find a few things incredible in that verse! First, we see that the Holy Spirit took over Gideon. Even though Gideon considered himself the weakest of the weak, he was able to make the call to arms. The second thing I find amazing is that the men answered the call and came to him! Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if Gideon and everyone around him looked at him as a weakling, the Holy Spirit gave him the charisma and leadership needed for that moment and people responded. But the thing that happened next is something I hate to admit that I can relate to.
Gideon saw a miracle when he met God face to face and he experienced God's protection when he tore down the altar and pole. He even experienced the empowerment of the Holy Spirit! Yet, he then asked God for a sign to prove that he was the one that God was going to use to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Can't you just feel the roller coaster flying down-hill? I can! I've heard so many people refer to Gideon's lack of faith in these verses, but how is it any different from when we have our own roller coasters? And I know for a fact that God has never called me to lead an army to defeat a strong enemy. God seemed to understand Gideon's need in that moment because I also don't see anywhere in these verses that Gideon's request made Him mad. Do I wish that my faith was so strong that I didn't experience the roller coaster? Absolutely, and I'm sure Gideon felt the same way! But what I do know is that Gideon didn't walk away even though the call was crazy, instead he asked God for what he needed in order to take the next step. To me, that also shows more faith than we sometimes recognize. Don't forget, Gideon is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:32-34). His faith is seen in the fact that he clearly knew his weakness, yet he still obeyed God.
What should our response be to Gideon's struggles and victory? Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV) tells us, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." We don't perfect our faith, Jesus perfects our faith. When we are experiencing the downs on the roller coaster, look back up at Jesus. Maybe it is in those down hill moments that our faith is strengthened all the more because we are truly recognizing our own inabilities. When we understand what we can't do, that is when we get to experience what God can do.
Where are you on the roller coaster? Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus so He can perfect your faith?
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.