“But I will be with you” Judges 6:16
In Judges 6 we find the story of Gideon. God sends an angel to call Gideon and let him know that God has chosen him to deliver his people out of the hands of their enemy. And I just love the angel’s greeting “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” It proclaims to Gideon how GOD sees him. God sees him as a mighty man of valor! Gideon hasn’t conquered anyone yet, but God sees him, not as he is, but how he will be! And why do we think he will be a mighty man of valor? Because the LORD is with him!
Gideon then responds, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Oh my goodness how it can feel like that sometimes can’t it!!! We’ve got the enemy army literally breathing down our necks, we’re scared witless and God seems to be nowhere to be seen! And we immediately question where God is in all this? The Bible tells of all these awesome things, these awesome deliverances that He has performed, yet where is He for me when I really need Him? Get what happens next!
“And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” What is God’s answer to Gideon’s question of where is God? I’m sending you! Gideon mentions the Israelites deliverance out of the hands of the Egyptians and God basically says “You’re it buddy! I’ve chosen you like I chose Moses, now lead My people to fight the enemy and you will win.” God doesn’t just answer his question; He tells Gideon that HE is the answer!
Well, of course what other response would Gideon have other than, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Gideon answers God the way every other leader that God chooses answers Him, with an incredulous, “Me Lord?” Gideon points out his weakness to God, and I can just see God nodding in agreement as if to say, “Yup, that’s exactly why I picked you.”
Now here is the key, and I mean THE key to absolutely everything in life. “And the LORD said to him, ‘But I will be with you…'” We focus on the things that we can’t do that God asks us to do, and He points out to us, “That’s why I asked you to do that, because YOU can’t do it. If you were to try and do it under your own strength you wouldn’t be able to, but because I am with you and doing it through you, for you, then it is not your strength that shines, but Mine.” He tells us, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” There are times in life when God calls us to something that makes us feel like we’re going to die, of embarrassment, or fatigue, or of fear, but we won’t! Because He is with us. He is always with us, because He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Never. Not ever. Period. He will never forsake us in our weaknesses.
God has called me to a life lived publicly. It wasn’t something I asked for, at least not that I remember anyway. It is, however, something that He has called me and trained me to do. And so here I am, bearing my heart and soul daily to anyone who comes along and decides to read it. And while I have a very outgoing personality, I fear the rejection and humiliation that can come from living in a glass house like this. Before I sat down at my desk to write this morning I felt the need to sing. So, I pulled up YouTube on my phone and looked up the song that was on my heart, and then another, and then another, until He brought me to the cluster of songs He had been waiting for. The first was “Hold me Jesus” where one of the verses called out my struggles with Him right now. Ever since reading Jonah I’ve been realizing more and more things that I’ve been running away from and questioning why I’ve been running from them. A verse from this song reads “Surrender don’t come natural to me, I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than to take what you give that I need, and I’ve beat my head against so many walls, now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees.” And it rang true, I’ve been running, I’ve been fighting, I’ve been beating my head on walls and I’m done! I don’t want to run any more. I don’t want to fight anymore. And I certainly don’t want to beat my head against any more walls! So I’m falling. I’m falling on my knees and allowing You to catch me Lord.
The next song was “Here I am Lord”. “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.” For someone who was born for the stage and has loved being the center of attention her entire life to be suddenly terrified of the stage and the attention that it will bring, well, that’s where I am right now. Yet, here I am Lord. I have heard you calling, and I will go, Lord, because You are with me. God why is this so hard for me, it shouldn’t be! Yet here we are in the wrestling ring dukeing it out over and over again. You are my wall and my fortress, so why do I beat my head against You???
Lastly, I sang with Kari Jobe “You are for Me” and in the third time through the chorus when she sang “I know that you will never forsake me in my weaknesses” He showed me a picture of me standing on a stage. Lord who am I? Who am I to stand on a stage and speak of Your goodness and Your faithfulness? Who am I that people would listen to what I have to say about You? My family is nothing and I am the least in my family, and yet it is me that you have chosen to fight this Enemy that our family has fought for generations, lifetimes, centuries. And yet You are with me so who can be against me? You have called me, so who am I to question Your judgment of my abilities.
I have to believe Him when He tells me that He will be with me and that that will be enough. I have to believe Him, because I have no other choice. I can’t not do what He calls me to do because I’d never be able to live with myself for eternity knowing I didn’t do it. I can’t not do it, because there are people out there that I don’t even know that are counting on me to obey His call. And just like Joseph, his pit led to the salvation of all of Egypt. What if my pit can lead someone, just one, to salvation; then isn’t worth it?
This reading has been an excerpt from Tamar’s book Waiting…, if you would like to read more it is available HERE in multiple formats.