“Yo. Mighty warrior! Your God is wit’ you!”
“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to ME? I’m lookin’ around, but I’m the only one standin’ here. Where’s this GOD you’re talkin’ ‘bout? God don’t have nuttin’ to do wit’ the likes of us.”
“Shaddup and listen. I’m sendin’ you, and I’m goin’ wit’ you. Youse gonna defeat dem Midianites and save all Israel.”
“Me? Save Israel? I’m da runtiest runt of the litters ‘round here. How’s it I’m gonna be savin’ Israel or anything else?”
“‘Cause itsa done deal. Badda bing, badda boom. I’M sendin’ you, and I’M goin’ wit’ you. Like I said. It’s done already. Capish?”
And with that, Gideon became the commander of Israel’s army. At least that’s how I imagine it would have gone down if a young Robert DeNiro got cast as Gideon.
As the story goes in scripture, Gideon was busy social distancing. He was working remote because the nation of Israel was panicked over an invasion that had swept in and was devastating their entire country.
Sound a little familiar?
Let me ask you this. Have you ever had plans that got derailed, dreams that got shattered, expectations that weren’t met, or felt like hanging on to hope was beyond impossible?
Of course. That’s been the last ten days for all of us.
Or I could simply ask, “Are you older than a preschool child?” Because there isn’t anything unusual about any of those for someone older than age five. Our entire lives have bits and pieces of that stirred in the soup.
That was certainly where Gideon was at.
This story is in the Bible, in chapters 4-8 of the book of Judges. It’s a good read, and I recommend it. Here’s the back story:
God had blessed Israel with a huge military victory that was followed by forty years of peace. In the middle of the forty years the Israelites took started (once again—this had become a habit of theirs) turning away from the Lord God to worship other gods. So God handed them over to the Midianites to be oppressed for seven years.
Stop for just a moment and think back over the last seven years. Where were you living, what were you doing for work, and what were you doing for fun? Were you following Jesus? In that time, who was born, who passed away, which of your friends did you meet, and who moved away?
A lot can happen in seven years. A lot we can’t even specifically remember. Because it gets absorbed into our lives.
If I asked what you were doing in 2013 you might have a tough time recalling. Let’s be honest: you’ve lived a lot of life since then. And your “Normal” has gotten changed, adjusted, beat up and reset too many times to count.
Just like Gideon.
Living in oppression by the Midianites had become “Normal”. And it was BAD. Read the story. The entire Israelite nation had been forced to hide out in caves in the hills. They didn’t have enough to eat, and they couldn’t even work without being attacked.
I bet there was a toilet paper shortage, too.
In the middle of all this chaos, God reached out to Gideon and told him the following:
- I’ve got a plan for you.
- Use the strengths you already have.
- I’m sending you.
- I’ll be with you.
Reality check: What kinds of doubts would you have? What kind of disbelief?
How would you feel if God showed up today and told you, “Here’s my plan. You’re gonna use the expertise you already have to eliminate Coronavirus once and for all. I’m sending you, and I’ll be with you, so don’t you worry about a thing.”
Gideon had his doubts. Just like we do.
Still, just because you’re not a geneticist doesn’t mean you can’t do SOMETHING.
Which raises the question: What is it that God is calling you to do? And what has God gifted you to be ABLE to do?
We all have strengths. Maybe you’re better at taking control of a panicked situation. Or perhaps your talented in calming people down when things go sideways. Maybe you’re better at accounting for little details and not letting anything slip through the cracks, or perhaps your superpower is creating fun ways to get through difficult situations?
I absolutely believe that each one of us is here on purpose, and here FOR a purpose.
And I absolutely believe that right now is a great time for each of us to unwrap our personal powers and share them with the people around us.
What is your purpose?
“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. And I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” -Jeremiah 29:11-14
What if God showed up for you today like he showed up for Gideon and told you that his plan was for you to find ways to use your talents and gifts to love and help the people around you? To improve someone else’s future and give them hope—in the same way he does for you?
What if we eagerly looked for opportunities to love on other people, while we are at the same time wholeheartedly seeking God?
Wouldn’t that be a perfect reflection of his relationship with us?
Here’s what I want you to do: BELIEVE that you’re that Mighty Warrior. Believe that God has ALREADY called you. Trust that THIS is the time for each of us to embrace and step into every opportunity to love other people as Jesus loves each of us.
Because that will bring hope and healing to the world around us.
– Pastor Steve.