Faith is a journey of trusting God to do the impossible. Sometimes that includes trusting him to be strategic even when it makes no sense to us.
One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is in the book of Judges and it’s the story of Gideon—an unlikely hero. He was hiding in the cellar when the angel told him he’d do great stuff. “Who me?!?” Ok, so I’m paraphrasing. But pretty much he needed to be convinced. Let me continue with the paraphrase of his story.
Once he started on the journey to lead an army to vanquish the occupying enemy, things got interesting. He got enough street cred to get 32,000 fighting men to follow him. “Yeah, about that,” said God. “You’ve got too many. I need you to see that I did this and not you. So send anyone home who’s scared.” Only 10,000 were left after that announcement. Gulp.
“Yeah, about that….” God whittled it down just a bit more. Like, to 300. “Seriously?!” I’m sure Gideon thought that at least once. I mean 32,000 sounds pretty legit, but 300? Funny/not funny.
When Gideon’s army attacked, God had them do something unconventional. The enemy was camping in a valley. Gideon’s men climbed three sides of the surrounding hills—each with only a horn and a torch hidden in a clay pot. At the appointed time they smashed the pots, revealing the torches, and blew the horns and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
The result was magnificent. The army fled in fear out the only way not blocked by fire and thunder! The battle was won—300 vs. thousands.
I read once that the place where Gideon’s army surrounded the enemy was strategic for one amazingly simple reason: it was acoustically perfect to amplify their shouts and shattering pottery to make it thunder. Gideon didn’t know that. But God did.
God whittled Gideon’s army down to just enough to sneak up on the enemy quietly. The moment they shattered the clay pots and blew the trumpets, yelling their battle cry, the sound would have reverberated off those hills with a deafening explosion. The light from the torches blazed on three sides, surrounding them and pointing to one place to flee. Strategically brilliant.
God sees what we can’t. He has a perspective we can never fully understand. Often we think we know what’s best. We have a plan. It seems pretty good, makes sense. And then that is not how God says this is going to work and we can get pretty upset. I’ve been there.
Are you willing to let God strategically place you even if it doesn’t make sense? Trusting that God sees what we can’t is often the beginning of an incredible journey of faith.
Oh that I would allow God’s direction to take me to fantastic places, beyond my cellar and the small ideas I cherish. Oh that I would be obedient to the crazy things he instructs me to do, trusting that he knows best. That is a beginning of faith.
Have you ever taken a crazy, obedient leap of faith that made no sense but then saw God do something incredible? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Next week I’ll finish this series on Faith & Trust.