Are You a Work in Progress?
By Beth Demme
I’ve written before (here, here, and here) about how I love the Old Testament. One of my favorite Old Testament heroes is the long ago judge of Israel, Gideon. (Judges 6-8) I appreciate Gideon’s story not because of his heroism, but because of his lack of it.
Gideon teaches me that even Heroes of the Faith sometimes:
- wonder if God is absent;
- feel inferior; and
- worship the wrong thing.
In the time of Gideon, the Israelites were being attacked by nearby enemies. Their crops and animals were being stolen and/or destroyed. God appears to Gideon and appoints him to be The One who saves Israel from those enemies.
Gideon looks at the world around him and says, “God, where are you?”
The first thing the angel of the Lord says to Gideon in Judges 6 is, “The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior.” In response, Gideon says, “nuh-uh.” Actually, he says, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this bad stuff happened to us? … The Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of our enemy.” (Judges 6:13)
Gideon looked at the world around him, saw how troubled it was, and assumed God had vacated the premises. Gideon was really saying, “if God cared about me, only good things would happen in my life.”
It’s tempting to measure God’s love based on our current situation. The better we feel about our life circumstances, the more blessed we think we are and the more we feel God loves us. But as Gideon’s story teaches us, God is present with us even when times are tough. In fact, sometimes it takes a difficult circumstance for us to surrender our self-sufficient attitudes. When we move beyond an “I’ve got this” attitude, we discover God’s love and the supernatural peace that passes understanding.