What Did He Say?Read Now
Recently I found myself standing right next to this super beautiful woman during a time of worship. And as I stood there next to her, suddenly, I wasn't so sure about my outfit choice and I was instantly aware of my old, worn out sandals, my long neglected eyebrows and my long hair that just always seems to get real tangled and crazy looking. I mean, just immediately, I was consumed by these inward laments of my outward "lack".
I came to worship. I'm standing in the presence of the King, to worship His Holy Name- and there, with my dusty old sandals kicked to the side and my bare feet standing on Holy Ground- I'm looking around me and then looking at myself and I'm feeling small and like maybe God should just use someone a little more... MORE, ya know? And it's like... What am I looking at? My God or my lack? How can I possibly think this way when I'm standing before the One who created me?
This has been a constant battle for me, not just in light of comparison but in light of being enough. And I think to a certain extent, it's okay. I'm keenly aware of my weakness and my desperate need for my God to fill me with His strength and His power for what He has called me to. I pray that He is most glorified in the places where my weakness is clearly evident and His glory shines all the brighter.
But then.. there's this place where I get stuck when my eyes remain on my inadequacy. If there's not a shift and if my gaze does not stay fixed on the might of God and the purpose of God and the miracle of the mere presence of Christ in me, that's a problem.
And just now, my husband began speaking to me about Gideon and the tears just started welling up because I can't tell you how many times the Lord has brought Gideon to me.
"The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." (Judges 6:12)
Lord, how? Me? I am inconsequential. My family is the weakest and I am the least.
"But I will be with you.." (Judges 6:16)
Isn't that enough? To stand before the angel of the LORD and to hear who the Lord says you are, the call He is giving you and the promised presence of the Lord with you? "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" (Judges 6:14)
But I'm hiding in the winepress and You're telling me to go and save Israel. Like, thatIsrael? Israel, Israel?
I can't tell you how many times I have uttered or thought the phrase, "I'm such a Gideon." And even there, the focus is on the inadequacy and not God. Because God called Gideon, He purposed Gideon, to do something impossibly big- AND HE DID. God said and he did. And I'm over here concerned with everything in between, like, well, I'm just like Gideon because I'm unsure like him and I'm constantly asking the Lord to confirm like he did.
OKAY, but what if I said, "I'm such a Gideon" as in: God came to me in my weakness and in my hiding and He gave me this call that is so much bigger than me. It's so, so crazy great and enormous and, uh, not to mention crazy, but the Lord Himself said that I am ____ and that He will be with me and He reassured me that HE HIMSELF CALLED ME.
I guess this place of inadequacy I have been stuck in is a little like my very own winepress. And I'm constantly hiding or looking to the left and to the right but God meets me right there. He is looking right at me and saying to me: I am with you. I have called you (insert name that is so outrageously not anything I in see myself and comparable even to 'mighty man of valor') and I have called you to this. You are not inconsequential; I created you with great, specific purpose.
And what if I also changed how I view the ways that Gideon asked the Lord to show him, to reassure him? Instead of, "Oh, that Gideon!" maybe I should think, "Oh, MY God!" Because in his wrestling to reconcile how he perceived himself and what the Lord was saying to him, Gideon asks for a sign- and God says, "I will stay till you return." (Judges 6:18) He was patient with Gideon and willing to work with him and work this stronghold out of him. And later in Judges 6:36-40, Gideon asks for another sign two nights in a row. And still the Lord reassured Him with miracles and His anger did not burn against him, even though he asked to test the Lord in this way.
AND THEN. THEN. In Judges 7:10, right before Gideon is to attack, the Lord says to him, "If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." Look at what the Lord arranged for him, y'all:
"Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”" (Judges 7:13-15)
Okay, be right back, crying. God didn't have to do that. He didn't have to do that.
But He did.
Why? Why was he so gracious with this man who struggled so deeply? Why was He so patient with a mere man who feels, even in the presence of the Lord, that he needs to test the Lord to be sure? Why would He even care?
"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:4-9)
We should absolutely stand in awe of our God! Look at what He did in and through Gideon! He took this man who hid himself and who perceived himself as the lowest of the low in comparison to all the men and the clans around him. This man who needed confirmation when maybe we think he shouldn't have. God was patient with him and kind and gracious. And finally, Gideon rose up and proclaimed the victory God had promised him. The one who himself struggled to get up out of that winepress called out to those heading into battle with him: "Get up!"
Get up. The Lord SAID.
Who does the Lord say you are, sister? Who are you in Christ?
What is it that He has called you to? That thing that seems impossibly big? That thing that has you like, "Me, Lord? Surely not me? I'm not anywhere near enough for this."?
Don't look to your left or to your right; don't you dare even go on looking at yourself through those human eyes of yours.
No, no. Shift your gaze. Dare to see what the Lord sees. Dare to believe what He says.
Maybe even ask Him to show you, like Gideon.
And then get up, beloved.
Does not the Lord send you?
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
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