Upheaval and churning is upon us, but God says: “Don’t be afraid.” Everyone who calls on Him is covered by His love and grace. Isaiah 41:10 says: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” But what about when it doesn’t look like this is happening? Gideon was wondering about this. The children of Israel were taken over by the Midianites. They had to hide anything they wanted to keep because the Midianites would see it and take it. Gideon was threshing some wheat, getting ready to hide it when “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, ‘The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor’” (Judges 6:12).
Gideon responded, “Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all the miracles which our fathers told us of? But now the Lord hath forsaken us.”
The angel “looked upon him, and said, ‘Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have I not sent thee?’” (v. 14). This is so awesome.
The Lord didn’t tell him to do someone else’s job. He told him to go in “his” might. God only wants us to do what’s in “our might” and believe that we can do what He’s asking.
Gideon looked at this challenge from a natural, rational point of view and told the angel that he wasn’t really able to do this thing God was asking, because his family was the poorest and he himself was too young.
But the angel pushed him: “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person” (v. 16). This took quite a leap of faith for Gideon. He was looking at this idea of changing his life around, from a totally logical natural way of thinking. But the angel was pushing him to see it from God’s point of view. All things, wild things, amazing miraculous things are available in the spiritual world, that can and do change our lives for the better, if we take a step of faith.
I’m sure we can all relate to Gideon when it comes to turning our situations around for the better. We want others to make things different for us, but then the Lord has the nerve to tell us we are to actually do something to change things. We come up with rationalizations, excuses and downright fears as to why we just can’t.
And here’s where the most amazing and kind heart of God comes in. He lets us freely challenge Him. He so wants us to believe, that He is willing to answer our doubts and unbelief. He knows we are sometimes weak in our believing and His love overrides any rolling of His eyes and shrugging of His big shoulders because of our hesitations.
Gideon’s heart wanted to somehow believe. He was hoping it could really be true, but his insides were quivering, fearful and small. He told God he needed a sign. And guess what, God didn’t run away or turn His head in disgust. He saw Gideon’s heart, and He said, “No problem.” In fact, Gideon was so apprehensive, he asked God for another sign just to be sure. And God lovingly gave it.
We’ve been taught to belittle Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, because he wanted to touch the nail holes of the crucifiction. Jesus had already shown these to the other disciples, but Thomas wasn’t with them at the time, so when they told Thomas they’d seen Jesus alive, he said: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
Jesus didn’t get mad at him at all or reprimand him. Religion has taught us that we are bad children if we ask Jesus for proof or a sign, but the Bible doesn’t tell us that at all. Instead it tells us that when Jesus came to see His disciples again, and Thomas was with them, Jesus said: “Peace be unto you.” We don’t ever have to be afraid of Jesus. He wants peace for us even more than we want it for ourselves sometimes.
“Then saith he to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing’” (John 20:26-27).
When we have unrest in our lives and are a bit fearful about decisions; or if God seems to want us to step out on something to make things better and we’re not so sure what to think or what to do or if it’s God or not, let’s not be afraid to get personal with Him. He’s very personal with us! It’s not a sin to ask for a sign like Gideon did, or like Thomas.
Jesus told us and keeps telling us that each of us is vitally important to God.
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10: 30-31).
The Lord is always going to help us when we seek Him, or as the case may be, turn back to Him.
Joseph expresses the heart of God when he talks to his brothers who meant to kill him, or trade him in for something else: “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”
God is speaking kindly to us, calling us back to Himself, telling us we can come to Him anytime and even ask for proof, when we’re unsure of His voice. We don’t ever have to be afraid to talk to Him.
Let’s seek a more intimate relationship with Him. If we doubt like Gideon or Thomas, the Lord will lovingly give us a sign. His Word tells us He is perfectly willing to do so. Don’t be afraid.
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