There are situations in life where circumstances are both painful and beyond our control. One way of surviving during those times is to refuse to engage with the circumstance which is like digging an emotional foxhole. One tries to keep his head down to keep it from getting blown off.
I’ve been in difficult circumstances in which I’ve used the foxhole strategy to avoid conflict. The problem is that the foxhole is only meant for short-term occupation. One can’t stay in the foxhole forever.
In thinking about some of my own circumstances where I’ve tried to keep my head low, the story of Gideon came to mind. His story can be found in the Bible beginning in Judges 6:11.
The story opens with Gideon hiding in a winepress so that he does not attract the attention of the Midian overlords. He does not want his enemy to know that he is processing wheat. He is hiding because it seemed to him to be the only way he could survive.
Based on the beginning of the story, Gideon would not be anyone’s first choice as the person most likely to lead Israel to a victory over Midian. But it is interesting to note that the Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and calls him a “man of valor (ESV).” This is ironic given the fact that the man of valor is hiding in fear when he is addressed by this title.
When I look at the pressure the church is facing both from within and without, I feel like Gideon in the winepress.
When I look at the dysfunction from previous generations that I unwittingly propagate in my generation, I feel like Gideon in the winepress.
When I see the culture around me crumbling into acrimony and anarchy, I feel like Gideon in the winepress.
Like Gideon I feel like I am in the winepress because I feel helpless to affect change in these circumstances.
But by God’s grace and as a result of His calling, Gideon didn’t stay in the winepress. He stepped out in obedience and in the end, Gideon was used by God to affect change in his circumstances and for the nation as a whole. Gideon took a risk. Gideon stepped out in faith. Gideon chose to rely on God.
The question for me is whether I am willing to rely on God and take a risk if God calls me to do something. Am I willing to be misunderstood? Am I willing to be reviled by those who don’t agree with me?
Am I willing to step out in faith and challenge the Midianites in my life? Are you?
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