One day the angel of God came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, whose son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, out of sight of the Midianites. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miraclewonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, “didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?” The fact is, God has nothing to do with us he has turned us over to Midian.” But God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?” Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.” God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”
I love that story. I love how God saw Gideon in his weakest, most vulnerable moments, where he is cowering in fear threshing wheat, and calls him a might warrior. He knew what he was going to be before Gideon himself knew it. He knew what he was capable of. I love this. The same God that saw greatness in Gideon, sees greatness in us. He know our potential and what we can become in His strength.
I can identify with Gideon being afraid. Fear is something I dealt with a lot when I was a child and in my teenage years. I grew up during the cold war. My parents never discussed it at home. Probably to protect us kids. But, at school, my teacher and the other kids had a big discussion about it. It was then that I learned about nuclear bombs, and the devastation they could cause. I was told about one little button, that if it was pushed it would send bombs to where I lived and we would all die. All of a sudden I felt vulnerable, unsafe. I had no idea how exposed the button was. Could someone just trip and accidentally push it? Or, someone in a moment of anger say “I’m sick of those Americans!” and push it? When I would lay in bed at night I would start to fear what could happen. I would break into a cold sweat and my heart would start pounding. God helped me through that. I would sing worship songs and ask God to help me. Pretty soon I would feel better and be able to go to sleep. I’m so thankful that in my moments of fear, God didn’t despise me. He encouraged me. He helped me.