By Lisa Huddleston
“The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have …’” (Judges 6:14).
Every time I read through Judges, I am grabbed by the story of Gideon. The irony of the situation just screams. A “mighty warrior” discovered by the Angel of Lord hiding from his enemies in a wine vat in order to thresh his wheat. Covered with chaff, starting in fear, yet a “mighty warrior?” Come on now. His weakness is so apparent that I’m surprised that even the Angel of the Lord didn’t have to fight back a smirk and a chuckle. Poor Gideon, the youngest in his father’s house and from the weakest family in Manasseh. Warrior? Right. Yet, he goes into battle. In the strength he has. Or rather in the strength he hasn’t. He goes, and God gets the glory.
Paul shares a similar story. When faced with a difficult situation of his own, he pleads with the Lord to take it away. Three times he begs, but God replies, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul learned to take pleasure in his own weakness, because he discovered Christ’s power would reside in him when he couldn’t handle life on his own. And Paul faced it all: weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions and pressures (12:10). Yet, when he was weak, because of Jesus, he was strong.
Obviously Gideon and Paul aren’t the only ones who need God’s strength. We all have more to bear than we can carry on our own from time to time. Financial struggles. Relationship issues. Natural disasters. Physical illness. Depression. Loneliness. The list goes on and on. And, if we are honest, we all can admit to wanting to hide at least occasionally. We may not have a wine vat like Gideon’s, but we find other ways to conceal our labor. Maybe we bury ourselves in work or sleep or medication. Maybe we paint on a happy face and just pretend that everything is okay. Or maybe we just give up all together. But just as it was for Gideon and Paul, God’s grace is sufficient. He is always strong, and He is always able to carry the load. He’s just waiting to be asked.
Are you like Gideon? Are you afraid to crawl out of your hiding place? Are you frightened by the real dangers you face? Jesus’ perfect love will cast out all your fear. Ask Him. Let Him show you how to go in the strength you already have in Him. Even covered by the chaff of fear, you are a mighty warrior when He sends you out. His ultimate victory is assured, and you can go anywhere in Him.
Are you like Paul? Are you suffering from a thorn in your flesh? Is your pain making it hard for you to make it through another day? Ask Him for grace. Ask Him for power. Let Him show you that when you are weak, then you are strong because of Jesus Christ. You, too, can learn His sufficiency to meet all of your needs.
Gideon, Paul and each one of us—we are “mighty warriors” in Him and His grace is sufficient for us. What will it take to go in the strength we have? Is He not sending us? The message is clear: we are weak, but He is strong. And it’s time to go!