My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Have you ever heard a success story and thought, “Why can’t that happen to me?”
Most of us crave success, but often, by the time a story is newsworthy, the hype makes it seem like it happened overnight.
Hardly! Most success stories focus on the fulfillment of a dream, not the blood, sweat and tears behind the scene.
I love what Bill Wilson with Metro Ministries, the largest sidewalk Sunday school in America, once said, “My overnight success took thirty-five years.”
Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Take a peek at what happened to another guy in Judges chapter six. If you’re waiting on a dream and your confidence needs a boost, Gideon’s doubt and pout is sure to encourage you.
Gideon was hiding out in a wine press threshing wheat one day when the angel of the LORD came by for a chat. Now, I’m not a wine connoisseur and I don’t know much about wine presses, but I had to wonder, isn’t a wine press used to prepare grapes? Why is Gideon threshing wheat in it? Because this great man of faith was a wimp, that’s why. His hopes were dashed, his confidence was shattered and he was ready to give up. He was hiding from his enemy, whining in a wine press.
The angel of the LORD ignored his winery and saluted Gideon with a title that contradicted his current demeanor.
In Judges 6:13 the angel says, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
The angel called forth destiny while Gideon was still destitute. Likewise, God sees the promise in you long before you even know it exists. Even so, it may take some time for you to see yourself as God sees you. It did for Gideon. Listen to his reply:
“Pardon me, my lord, but….”
Yep, Gideon responded with a big but.
How many times have you told God, “But.”
It’s human nature. We see the problem and God sees the promise.
The angel ignored Gideon’s protests and continued with his instructions. “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“How can I save Israel?” Gideon whined. “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
It’s easy to look at Gideon’s situation and think we would have responded differently. He got the memo hand delivered from the Chief’s right-hand man. But how many of us have responded in kind when we hear the Lord prompt us?
“Believe for a mate? I can’t even get a date!”
“Me? Start my own business? I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
“Fight for my marriage? It’s a hopeless cause.”
“Stay home with my children? We barely scrape by on two incomes.”
“Stand up for righteousness? I get so nervous, I couldn’t defend a lima bean.”
“Believe for my healing? Both of my parents died of cancer.”
“Write a book? I got a C in English!”
You see, Gideon saw himself as defeated, but God saw him as victorious. Gideon looked at the circumstances, but God looked at the future. And the only way to make a warrior out of a wimp was to send him into war.
Without a battle there’s no victory.
Gideon was about to be stretched. Friends, that’s what God does with you, too.
Gideon’s mission: Attack the Midianite camp. This was no small duty. The Midianites were so numerous that their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. After many jolts and shoves, pushes and prods, Gideon finally agreed to get out of the whine press and face his enemy. But no sooner than he had gathered his troops, the Lord declared a massive layoff.
Ever been there? Finally relent to God’s plan and without even blinking, He makes serious modifications? After several rounds of negotiations and plea bargaining, Gideon was almost down to nothing. In Judges 7:2, The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.'”
Gideon’s army endured a major downsizing as his substantial organization of 32,000 soldiers was reduced to only 300 men. That’s a lot of layoffs!
Despite the fact that his army was reduced to the bare minimum, Gideon, the former wimp, earned his warrior stripes. Turns out, Gideon’s enemy wielded swords on each other. Looks like God’s strategic restructure was vital to victory.
Have you ever felt like Gideon? Defeated and lonely? Discouraged and forgotten? When your hope has faded, remember Gideon’s story. Gideon was so not the obvious choice. Talk about high maintenance! He was unmotivated, lacked in the faith department and needed a lot of reassurance. Plus, if you read the whole story, you’ll see that he used more delay tactics than a toddler at bedtime.
However, one thing is clear. God loves success stories. His specialty is turning wimps into warriors and sissies into saints. He wants you to succeed, so keep pressing on. No matter how the odds are stacked, God has a plan for your future. It’s more beautiful than you can imagine, but first,
you have to get out of the whine press!
Main Thought: God can multiply your own efforts. He wants you to succeed.
Action Step: What thoughts are standing in the way of your success? How can Gideon’s story help you believe for a great outcome?
Prayer: Lord, I thank you that your grace is sufficient for me. Please help me to remember that when you call me to do something, it is not my own strength that enables me to succeed. Please equip me with the resources and confidence to do your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.