“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’” (Judges 6:12-13a)
I can relate to Gideon so well on so many levels. The Lord Himself appears to Gideon in human form and I wonder, how many times do I react like Gideon does. How many times do I doubt that the Lord is with me, asking to see His miracles now? Just how many times do I find myself meeting with the Lord and instead of listening to the words of grace that He speaks to me, I focus on what is on my mind, on getting things to go the way I would like them to?
Sometimes — or maybe often, if you are anything like me — we want to see God work in our lives, changing a current circumstance and we want to see it all happen right now. We ask and we insist of the Lord; we want, and we want it now. Yet we forget to reflect on the faithfulness of our Lord in the past, trusting that He will make a way for us now as well.
“So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15)
I wonder, how many times do I react like Gideon does. The Lord comes and tells to Gideon that he is the one to save Israel from the Midianites. God tells Gideon that He has sent him, and can we not be sure that God is walking right next to us when He sends us anywhere? Later on, the Lord even assures Gideon that He will be right there with Gideon.
But I wonder, how many times do we react like Gideon does. How many times does the Lord send us, gives us a calling and a purpose — and we doubt His words? We tell Him that there is no way we could ever do such things, that we are not able to do such things — and at the same time, we doubt His abilities to make us able to do what He has called us to do. We look at ourselves and see only our flaws and our failings; forgetting that God sees us washed clean with the blood of Jesus, now righteous before Him.
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25)
When there is a battle in front of us, often it is easier to see our failings and flailings instead of choosing to see ourselves and our purpose with the eyes of God. It is easier to run the other way because following Jesus means taking up our cross on a daily basis. Crucifying our flesh means to utterly destroy the power of our flesh and its passions and desires, and this is not easy.
We make it sound easy, denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily. But this figure of crucifixion, means that the destruction of our flesh is attended with intense pain. Sometimes, denying ourselves means giving up the lies and thought patterns we like to hold on to — and choosing to see ourselves as with the eyes of God. Sometimes, it means extending grace to ourselves and others when we would rather give in and give up. And sometimes, following Jesus means just that — becoming His disciple, and joining God in seeing the world and His people the way that He does.