Gideon’s 300

This story really gripped me the other day, and I had a lot of thoughts about it. Take a few minutes and read it, so you can follow along with me (Judges 7):

So, he started off with 32,000 men, and God whittled it down to something He could work with. But as I wander along the paths of this, so many things come to mind.

Like, when God calls this “mighty man”, he’s hiding in a wine-press. There’s a potential in so many of us and when God calls it out of us, we have the choice to remain hidden, or actually do what He’s asking us to do. And sometimes, just sometimes, we have a general idea of what He wants, and we have to figure out the plan “as we go”, as it were.

And I think about the people who Gideon gathered and were later dismissed. Did Gideon mess up? Should he have waited for the direction to call out just those 300 people? Did he get ahead of what God wanted to do in gathering the people together? I was pondering on that, and actually wondered if the process is where God wanted to go, and He used this instance to take care of a whole lot of other lessons. Like making sure that these men knew that they were wanted to fight, maybe, regardless if they ended up in the battle. But also maybe that they needed to know that it was okay to be afraid, and God still valued them, maybe. And maybe that bravery also looks like taking care of their family and their land, maybe, and that is just as important as fighting on the front lines. Maybe. And maybe that Gideon needed to do the work of finding this many people so that he could figure out how to lead, maybe.

We often see the obvious lessons, but what if there were other purposes to what God was doing? And how can we trust and be obedient to what God is calling us when we don’t understand all the facets, maybe, of what He wants to teach and accomplish? Because maybe, it’s about more than just us.

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Keep On

So, I’ve been hearing messages and reading little clips about how we should keep going, and not turning back. Very often it’s just past the very point when we give up that breakthrough could have happened, where the reward was waiting the whole time, and we just didn’t have the strength, stamina, perseverance, patience or whatever to keep on keeping on. It reminds me of a little adventure I had when I was in Scotland.

The Pillars of Sliver Knowles

The Pillars of Sliver Knowles

I went to a little beach called Silver Knowles, and I immediately noticed an island not too far off from the shore, and a kind of  stone bridge looking structure that led to it, but the bridge looked broken down and falling apart. On the island, I saw a fort looking structure, so I decided I wanted to go out on the island. I began walking down the shore, hoping I could cross the bridge looking thing. As I was walking, I saw several really nice and peaceful places I could stop, sit and have a nice quiet time if I couldn’t get to the island, but I kept trekking along. It was a long ways away, but as I got closer, about 2/3 of the way there, I saw that what I thought was a bridge really wasn’t. They were these huge pillars, and  they weren’t connected. Really impressive, but a disappointment, since I couldn’t see any other way to get to the island. I figured, well, I’ll just get as close as I can and sit on the piece of land jutting out by that not-bridge.

I headed in that direction, more and more disappointed that I couldn’t get to the island. When I got to that little piece of land, I was very surprised to see that next to the huge pillars was a very low walkway, so low that you couldn’t see it from far away, even so low that when the tide comes in, it would cover it.

The walkway by the pillasr

The walkway by the pillars

As I made my way across the walkway, I thought about how like our lives it is. We have a vision or dream or goal in mind, and as we work towards it, the path that we thought we were going to take ends up being blocked, going the wrong direction, fallen apart, whatever. We have a choice then to go as far as we can go, or turning back, or turning aside to other things that seem doable or not as impossible. But, if we keep on going as far as we know how, a way tends to open up that we never saw before, and would never have seen if we didn’t keep pushing forward.

I know that I can see life lessons in the smallest and silliest things, but that one hit me like a brick. As I sat on the island (it was like a little Eden), I thought about how the walkway was longer than it looked, and really slippery in places. It changed height and material about halfway out, and it was a little unnerving to feel like I was walking out in the middle of the ocean (which, on the way back, nearly happened – I nearly had to run to beat the tide!). But it was totally worth it. The island was amazing, and I learned a great lesson that I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon…