Sunday, March 30, 2014

Valiant Warrior? Really?!?

Gideon was shaking in his boots.

He'd lived most of his life under the oppression of the Midianites, an enemy who exploited Israel at every turn. They swarmed through villages, and like locusts, they consumed all of the Israelites' crops.

All Gideon wanted to do was survive. He had no visions of grandeur, no plans for greatness. He was just trying to get by. So he hid himself in a wine press, where he was trying to squirrel away a few meals. As he prepared his meager portion of wheat, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior!"

I love the irony. The Lord greets the cowering Gideon by calling him a valiant warrior. And since I do not believe that God is mocking Gideon, I have to wonder why he chose such a salutation. Is it possible that God saw Gideon as he could be rather than as he was? Is it possible that God sees me the same way?

And Gideon's response? He's not buying it. He doesn't take issue with the "valiant warrior" piece; rather, he questions the assertion that the Lord is with him. He's been beat down for too long. He's been struggling just to survive. He feels abandoned and afraid. He does not believe that the Lord is with him, even though, in that instant, the Lord was literally WITH him.

Yeah. I get that. Too often it seems like my circumstances contradict God's word. That's because I find it easier to have faith in what is seen than in what is unseen. I trust my senses more than I trust his truth. And my flesh grows weary from the waiting. So weary that when the Lord finally shows himself to me, I don't believe my own eyes. I question him.

It's funny, really. The Lord calls the fearful Gideon a "valiant warrior." Gideon, who is face to face with the Lord, denies his very presence. God sees what CAN be. Gideon cannot even see what actually IS.

So if the Lord were to visit me today, how would he greet me? What does he see in me that I cannot see in myself? And what would I refuse to see, even if it were plainly revealed? Because the truth is, I'm a lot like Gideon. I can't be bothered with calling and destiny until I'm convinced that the Lord is actually with me. I need to know him before I can become what he created me to become.

But once I am sure of him, I'll do whatever he asks. 

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