What if we were to give all of our material wealth, security and influence up? Or what if it was taken from us? What would our life look like? How would that make us feel? Where do we place our trust? Who do we trust? Can we have it all? What does it ‘all’ actually look like? I share how the Lord looks at things differently than we do when it comes to what appears weak and strong in the world – and why that is a good thing.
Weakness is actually a good thing
Something that has been on my heart recently is seeing how the Lord works in and through our weaknesses, not in our apparent strengths. In the book of Judges, there’s a man named Gideon who God appointed to save Israel from the Midianites who had been oppressing them for several years. The people of Israel cried out to God for help. God reminded the Israelites of how He rescued them from slavery out of the land of Egypt and from many others who had oppressed them, but they chose to worship other gods other than the Lord. Yet the Lord had plans to rescue them once more – this time through Gideon.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon saying ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valour’ (Judges 6:12). Yet Gideon questioned this, much as we might question God being with us today:
“Please, my lord, 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.” Judges 6:13 ESV
Rather than scolding Gideon for his lack of faith or questions, the Lord commissioned him to be the one to face the Midianites himself: ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?’ Once again, I feel that if God had asked us to go and face our enemies head on, we might respond in a similar way:
“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.” Judges 6:15 ESV
The weakest. I hear you Gideon. I hear you.
But the Lord says that He will be with Gideon. And just like Gideon, we would probably ask God for some proof, a sign, evidence, anything. And God provided the sign to Gideon in a pretty spectacular way. There are times in the Bible where God does appear to answer in a way that we would like, and times when we just scratch our heads and think to ourselves ‘I’d probably do it differently God.’ Yet God sees things differently.
Less is more with God
When Gideon was preparing for battle against the comparatively larger Midianite army (approximately 135,000), he had an army of just 32,000 men. But even with the numerical odds against him, God had different ideas:
The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. Judges 7:2-3 ESV
Gideon was left with 10,000 men. The Lord didn’t want the people to boast thinking that they would win based on their own strength. By reducing the army, it does not look like a promising outcome. But this isn’t the end. God wanted to reduce that number even more. After separating the remaining men into two different groups based on how they drank water by the river (interesting technique!), the number that were chosen by God to be part of the army shrunk to 300.
The Midianites were defeated because the Lord was with them. It might not make much sense to us, but I have found it true in my own life that where I have felt weak, the Lord has worked in a powerful way. Examples include when I was going through chemotherapy, when I have been unemployed, being a stay-at-home mum, working behind a till in a shop, through writing and many more.
At times where I have felt like I don’t belong or fit in or I am not doing what such-and-such is doing, or I don’t have what so-and-so has, in those moments where I feel ‘less’, God becomes so much more in my heart and my mind. It seems like a tough situation, but in those moments of weakness, I feel stronger because He makes me strong. It is nothing I can do. It is all the Lord Jesus by His Spirit working through me.
When you are weak, then you are strong
Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament and an apostle of Jesus pleaded with the Lord to take something away from him. We are not sure what it was but it was giving him a lot of grief and he felt tormented by it. But the Lord said to him:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
What areas in your life do you feel weak? Health? Relationships? Parenting? Work? Home? Faith? Ability? Know that the Lord can work through your weaknesses in amazing ways and it will bring you in a closer relationship with Him, if you accept the grace He freely gives and watch His power work in your life. Like Gideon we may feel weak and ‘less’ than, but in Christ Jesus, He is more and we are made strong through Him.