In the book of Judges, we are introduced to Gideon, a man God would use to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of the Midianites. The Midianites were cruel invaders who terrorized the Israelites by arriving on “droves of camels too numerous to count” and who “were as thick as locusts” (Judges 6:5). This enemy stayed in the land until it was stripped of all the natural resources, leaving the Israelites in a state of starvation because they were without food or livestock. This oppression against Israel lasted for seven long, hard years. 

It’s during this period we find Gideon threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress so that he could conduct his work in hiding from the enemy (vs. 11). In this hiding place, the Angel of the Lord greets Gideon as a mighty hero whom the Lord is with (vs. 12). This is a bit laughable because the last place we would expect to find a mighty hero would be in hiding to eke out a little bit of food for just his family. Full of accusations and frustrations, Gideon vents anger about his living condition to the Lord. To which the Lord simply says:

Go with the strength you have to provide a rescue; I am sending you. (vs.14 paraphrased)

Gideon was the smallest of the small. He was from the smallest clan of Israel, and he was the youngest. Yet, he won a mighty victory over the Midianites despite the delays he brought to the process by asking for signs, and his insecurity about his role as a leader. Funny enough though, that even the strength he had God reduced again and again. In this story, we learn that despite a strong tactical disadvantage, God enabled Gideon to defeat the innumerable Midianites with only a few hundred soldiers. 

This command to “go with the strength that you have” really resonates with me right now as I’m living through a season where I’ve been reduced to functioning with one arm. Besides the normal challenges you would expect from multiple broken bones, I’ve lost months building {Re}Purposed Lives, a recycling business whose philanthropic mission to repurpose is based on crafting.  In my current condition, I cannot do any of the things needed to fill up my Etsy shop, which in turn generates revenues for the justice ministries I’m passionate about supporting.  Yet, when I read this verse, it releases the burden of what I cannot do, while inspiring me to accomplish what is in my strength to do. 

The inspiration to us all is that the strength we have today is sufficient for the call we have today. For me, that looks like organizing a community volunteer event to engage students in helping me recycle. An idea that was born, mind you, out of my helplessness and one I would have never considered without facing this current injury. The strength I have also includes working with my network of friends and community organizations to secure more donations so that we have plenty of items to recycle during our community events.  

What we think of as too small, is more than enough for our God to accomplish big things. Remember what the loaves and the fishes accomplished in Jesus’ hands?  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t need us to have all the answers or strength to complete the tasks he’s assigned to us.  He just needs us to come out of hiding and show up. 

You may not have the spouse yet, or the degree yet, or the influence yet, but I promise that you have enough strength to get started. It’s not likely that God is calling you to redeem our entire country or rescue us from cruel invaders, but he is likely calling you to reach out to that neighbor or give money to support the vulnerable. Go with the strength you have and provide rescue to someone, somehow. Rest assured God will be with you; He has your back. 

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