God is so very patient with our doubts and fears, isn’t He? Gideon hid from his enemies, cowering in the low-lying winepress to avoid having his barley confiscated. When called directly by God to defeat the enemy, he whimpered about how powerless he was, oblivious to the power of God that was being offered. When God provided specific instructions, he asked for signs and wonders to verify that it really was from God. Twice.
I appreciate Gideon because I can relate to his pitiful lack of faith. How many times has God called me to something impossible and I made excuses or turned away. Surely God knows I could never do something so impossible . . . .
But that is exactly the point. If God calls me to do things that are possible, things that I already have confidence in my ability to handle, all people see is me. All I see is my own competence or abilities on display. When God calls me to do something completely beyond myself, something I could not do on my own, I am forced to cry out and depend on Him every single step — and anyone who sees it easily recognizes it is something God has done. God receives the glory.
Here is the greatest freedom I’ve found in pursuing something God has called me to do: I can’t lose. If I fail, it’s no surprise because I knew from the get-go it was not something I could do. Failure is a required learning step to success and teaches me to press in deeper in my relationship with the Lord. Failure in something God has called me to reveals my increasing need for Him. It’s an invitation from God to come closer, to call on Him constantly, to remember that the failure doesn’t define me. God has already defined me as beloved, worthy of His greatest, mostly costly gift in His Son, and righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice in my place.
Success, then, becomes an opportunity to praise God and give Him glory for the miracles He has performed through a cowering, insecure mortal who He has called “valiant warrior.”