The Lord is with you, O champion! (Judges 6:12)
Put yourself in Gideon’s sandals for a moment. As a child, you grew up with stories of God rescuing his people from oppression. Years later, you watched the nation of Midian overpower Israel, and your faith in God suffered a major blow. He doesn’t fight for us anymore, you thought. Then one day, a messenger from God shows up. He tells you to go save Israel, because the Lord is with you! Doubts begin to flood your mind, and instead of stepping forward, you turn your gaze backward. Where was God when … ?
What do you do when God nudges you forward? If you’re like most of us, you may find yourself contemplating the past instead of dreaming about the future. You may dwell on the times when it didn’t work out and forget all the times God was with you.
“I don’t know if anyone I’ve ever prayed for has been healed, so what’s the point?” “Peace with that person would be wonderful, but our relationship is beyond repair.” “I’ve never been able to overcome this habit; why should this time be any different?” “I don’t think they’ll ever come back to church, so there’s not much use in inviting them.”
Nevertheless, God is overflowing with patience and kindness toward us! He knows how quickly we can doubt. He also knows that we can be genuinely uncertain as to whether or not we’re hearing his voice correctly. That’s why he will sometimes confirm his message. He did this with Gideon, not just once, but three separate times!
What’s more, he assures us that as we step forward, he is going to be with us. The angel’s first words to Gideon were “The Lord is with you” (Judges 6:12). This ultimately allowed Gideon to turn his focus from his strength—small as it was—to God’s strength. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God. Eventually, of course, Gideon answered the Lord’s call, and God rescued his people again.
Today, when you sense God nudging you forward, don’t let your gaze shift backwards! Keep looking to him for confirmation and courage. Working with him step-by-step, there’s no limit to what he can accomplish through you.
“I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength!”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne