Monday, October 3, 2011

300

This week was an interesting week from a "church" point of view.  There was some definite overlap between my Sisterhood meeting on Thursday and the message at church yesterday.  It was a subject that definitely has me thinking.

Do you know about the story of Gideon??

If you read Judges 6 - 7 you will get to know his story.  Much to Gideon's amazement, God decided to use him to lead an army against Israel's enemy, the Midianites.  How could this be?  Gideon was young.  He was weak.


Judges 6:14-16 (NLT)
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

He had over 30,000 ready to go with him against the enemy, but God had other plans.  God whittled that number down to a mere 300 men.  The Lord instructed Gideon to "go with the strength you have".  He didn't say "go with the massive army I have assembled for you".  He did say that He would be with him though.

These were some of the verses I was to reflect on for my Sisterhood morning meeting last Thursday.  This section of the Priscilla Shirer "SEED" study was called Control.  I positioned myself to reflect on these words and this is what I came up with:
  • Obeying God means doing His will with what seems to be impossible odds against you.  
  • Even though you may be the weakest or youngest, God will be by your side.  
  • Obeying God's will means trusting that when He sends you forth, He is doing so equipping you with what you need to get through.

When I reflected on the verses, I questioned myself:
  • How often do I doubt my abilities?
  • Do I lean on God for strength when I need to?
  • Do I trust that He is always with me?

Hmm.  As if all of that wasn't enough food for thought, let's flash forward to yesterday's message at church.  Our senior pastor, Greg Surratt, was preaching.  He recently published a book called Ir-Rev-Rend: Christianity Without the Pretense.  Faith Without the Facade.


Source: goodreads.com via Sarah on Pinterest


We began a new series yesterday which is based on some of the teachings from this book.  Surratt mentioned that he would be talking about some things which did not actually make it into the book.  Sounded interesting.  

The first message in this series was based on the chapter entitled "Calling".  Like this past week's Sisterhood meeting, we looked at the same verses from Judges plus a couple more from either end of that selection.  Here were Pastor Greg's key points, per the notes I took during the service:

  • God wants to do something significant through you: 
    • No matter your life stage, talent, etc.
    • Significant breakthrough usually comes through times of significant pain
    • God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to let us stay there
    • God has us exactly where He needs us in order to start the process of a breakthrough in us
    • It usually starts with some level of discomfort
  • If you are going to have a breakthrough, you've got to STOP focusing on what you think you are and START focusing on who God says you are:
    • God knows who you are
    • The biggest barrier is what we think about ourselves and what we see in ourselves
  • It doesn't take much to make a big difference:
    • We have the written word of God and we have the Holy Spirit inside us
    • When you go after God on an idea, don't be surprised if you have a "Gideon revival" after you start the process (i.e. numbers reducing)
    • God thins it out so that we will know it is Him
    • It just takes a few people to make a lot of noise to make a breakthrough

These words really struck me.  Along with my own thoughts from Sisterhood, I really thought to myself that I am so much like Gideon.  Who am I??  Who am I that God would use me for any purpose??  Why would God use me when there are so many other well-qualified people out there??  What is my calling after all??

One area where I have felt completely inadequate at times is in my calling to be the mother of Peyton, a special needs child who also happens to be medically fragile.  What qualifications do I have to deal with that??  I feel like Gideon on so many levels here.  I have a multitude of people in our network, helping us with Peyton - medical staff mostly, but also our church family, friends, and family.  But on a daily basis, I feel like I'm very much alone in all of this.  Like my 30,000 has been whittled down to 300.  Except maybe it's my hundred whittled down to 1 or 2.  It's a very isolating experience parenting a chronically ill child.  We have (and still do) receive a lot of love from so many, but there aren't too many who live out the day to day with us.  Still, through everything, I know that God is present in our lives.  I know I have witnessed His hand at work in our lives so many times.  As difficult as the journey is at times, I know without a doubt now that God is at work in all of this, orchestrating our lives, bringing the "300" to us where and when we need them.

When I continued to reflect on these verses last week for Sisterhood, here's what I came up with as my action plan:
  • I must pray for strength and guidance from the Lord.
  • I must trust in Him always and know and fully understand that He isn't calling me to do something I can't handle.
  • He is equipping me every day with what I need to get through.

So I ask you:

Who are your Midianites?

Who and where are your 300?

Maybe you too can reflect on these verses and consider a situation in your life where you might be struggling to find God.  When I was reflecting on the verses in Judges, I clearly heard God speak to me.  I hope that these words speak to you as well.

Trust in me that I have given you all you need.

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