When I consider the ways in which God is growing me I am always brought to tears. Not just itty bitty glistening tears that fall softly around the wrinkles of my eyes. No, I am talking about floodgate tears, the ones in which I am humbled by the mercy and grace bestowed upon me. Like Gideon, I have found myself hiding in a cave not wanting to deal with events, troubles or my own version of Midianites. And like Gideon, I have called out to God to “fix” things. And of course, my response mirrors that of Gideon “not me, I am not worthy, I am a no one from a no one family from a no one clan, you have the wrong guy.” (Judges 6:15 paraphrase) And there my friends is the lie that I keep telling myself: not me- there is someone better. God wouldn’t use me in powerful ways. Like Gideon, I am hesitant to believe that God can use me. Yet, Yahweh gently stirs in my soul and says “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:16) There is a call to action, a call to answer and even through my tearstained eyes I see a call to be brave.
However, the next thing in Gideon’s story is not what I expect. There is simply an exchange in which Gideon needs clarification that he is indeed speaking with the Angel of the Lord. This dialogue only lasts as long as it takes for Gideon to prepare an offering. When he is satisfied that he is indeed speaking with the Angel of the Lord, Gideon accepts his calling. Call it dotting his i’s and crossing his t’s but Gideon is getting his house in order. How many times have I allowed my sarcastic mouth, fiery temper and short fuse to rush in instead of waiting on the Lord? The answer, too many to count! There is something about Gideon we can misunderstand here at this juncture- he may appear reluctant, Yet, when we truly look at his character we may find that he is thoughtful, diligent and brave.
In contrast to Gideon, I tend to be headstrong, temperamental and short-sighted. I am a mess held together by scotch tape and the Holy Spirit. I need to wrap caution tape around myself because of the disaster that I am. Please don’t misunderstand me, I deeply believe God can do a good work in me I just forget from time to time. I get so caught up in my shortcomings that I fail to recall that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) And this is where I find myself similar to Gideon. There is a boldness that we see in Gideon. Gideon and 10 of his servants tear down the altar to Baal despite being built by his own father. Gideon destroys the altar, cuts down the Asherah Pole and builds a proper altar just as the Lord commanded. (Judges 6:25) Gideon does this work during the night, he is afraid. He is concerned with the consequences but not consumed by them. He is afraid yet he completes the task set before him by the Lord. He is brave.
The definition of the word brave is this: ready to face and endure danger or pain: showing courage. Nowhere in the definition does it say brave: the absence of fear. You cannot be brave if there is nothing to be scared of. There needs to be a catalyst for our bravery. An opportunity to glorify God in what we have taken a risk for. An opportunity to step out of the cave and face the situation at hand. Gideon did just that, he was ready when the people discovered his handiwork the next morning. God sets before us missions, tasks and opportunities to use our gifts. He takes us as we are and transforms us when we are obedient to the call. God finds us in our doubt, our reluctance, our apathy and transforms us. He does that for me. I offered my headstrong nature and God gave me humility. I repented (and continue to) my temper God gifted me with a discernment I have never known before. Like Gideon, I know God is mighty. I know that it does not matter the backstory of my birth or if I am the least in my family. What matters is who am I to God and the purposes I can serve when I am obedient to His calling on my simple life. My simple life that mirrors an innate boldness.
Answering God’s call to live an audacious life has transformed me into a person who forgives deep hurts and grudges. I trust God with my marriage, with my children, and with my health. I surrender my life to God’s will and then I bravely confess my inability to stay in that posture of surrender. I am a work in progress. My story is still being written. I am still a mess with my caution tape and tears. I keep a box of kleenex by my bedside because some days the act of getting out of bed is an act of bravery. And that’s what brave people do, we get out of bed.