When You Can’t Find the Strength
Judges 6: 14 “The Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” NIV
Talk about an unfortunate first impression! When we meet Gideon, he is threshing wheat in a wine press. Why? He is in hiding from the Midianites. So, relying on our first impression of Gideon, we could surmise him to be a coward. Yet, when an angel of the Lord appeared to this man in hiding, he did not address Gideon by name. The angel addressed him by a title. Gideon hears, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The very term, “Mighty warrior,” conjures up images of aggressiveness and bravery. But Gideon, a warrior? No. Perhaps he was an obedient son, a manual laborer, a hard worker, maybe a coward, but definitely not a mighty warrior!
So, it only made sense that Gideon’s response to being addressed as a mighty warrior was, “Pardon me my Lord.” Can you imagine his confusion? First, his secret hiding place had been discovered by this stranger. And, “Mighty warrior?” Warriors go out to battle the enemy, not hide in fear from them.
Prior to this surprise visit, Gideon lacked skill, confidence, and ambition. But, God makes no mistakes. “Mighty warrior,” did not remotely resemble the man of Gideon’s past, but the title perfectly fit the man God knew Gideon would become. So, God chose Gideon to defeat the Midianites and told him, “Go in the strength you have.” Did you catch that? Gideon wasn’t instantly gifted with a cape and super human strength in order to conquer the Midianites. He was told to use the strength he already possessed – strength that was hidden from Gideon, just as Gideon was hidden from the Midianites. How was this possible? Look back at our theme verse. It is because the Great I Am sent him. Gideon’s strength lay in God when Gideon chose to submit to Him.
How many of us are Gideons in hiding, afraid to live out our victorious life in Christ and harboring undiscovered strength? Is it because, like Gideon, we haven’t realized that our strength resides in God when we submit to him?
Granted, our battles today are far from the battles of Gideon, but nonetheless, require a reservoir of strength. What young mother doesn’t need an extra dose of strength to conquer the duties of the day after being up all night with a sick baby? What working woman doesn’t need the strength to juggle family, house, and work expectations while honoring God’s calling? How many parents need strength to persist with love when teenagers break curfew, when jobs end abruptly, when marriages fall apart, and when money runs out before the month runs out? When today’s to-do-list surpasses your strength, remember the story of Gideon, and, Mighty Warrior, (yes, that’s you!) submit to the Great I Am. With submission, you will be able to access the strength that already lives mightily within you.
Father God, help us to remember that we can access strength for our journey when we take that journey with You.
Blessings for Strength,