Recently I found myself struggling with some fears relating to something God has called me to do. After days of playing out what if scenarios in my head and feeling anxious I finally decided to go to God in prayer and ask Him for peace. God reminded me through the story of Gideon that I don’t have to be afraid. I can trust Him to keep me safe even when He calls me to do something that seems unsafe. You see, sometimes the possible result of what we are called to do is scary, but if we hold on to what God has said and know that we are doing His will we can overcome our fears.
Let’s look at the first thing The Lord asked from Gideon below:
Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night. (Judges 6: 25-27: NKJV)
God asked Gideon to tear down the alter and build a new one. There was a lot of risk in doing this and Gideon was afraid. He knew the people would be angry and they were, in fact They tried to kill him for it. The things God calls us to do as His followers pose a lot of risk. We are called to stand against what this world stands by and that’s no easy or safe task. Even Peter feared the Jews and acted like a hypocrite when around them, rather than fully speak the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11). There was risk involved and he gave into fear. We are all in danger of giving into our fears when following God’s calling because there is always risk.
What the story of Gideon reminds me of is that with God on my side I can face the risk fearless, with Gods strength and power, and overcome. I don’t have to fear because I am His child and he has already given me victory. Even if the what if’s I’ve played out in my mind happen I can still face them with God on my side, believing He will get me through. Gideon feared the people, he probably played out his own what if scenario that involved a mob of angry people coming after him after he tore down the alter of Baal. This scenario is exactly what took place, but God had his back just as He has mine and yours when we choose to faithfully follow his call. This set the stage for the bigger, more risky, things God had in store for Gideon. Gideon had already seen Gods faithfulness in action because he was willing to respond to God and take on the risk of tearing down that alter. This further enabled him to head into battle with 300 men and the living God on his side, knowing he could full well defeat an army of hundreds of thousands. This reminds me that I can take on God’s calling, full of risks, and have victory.
It’s probably easy for us, seeing the end of this faith encounter, to focus on the fact that Gideon survived the angry mob. God could have easily prevented this from even happening. Why didn’t He? In my opinion, God allows us to face trials to grow our character and show us His faithfulness (1 Peter 1:6-7; Romans 5:3-5). Years ago my husband and I felt God calling us to walk away from his corporate job so he could pursue other things. This meant we would have to live on my salary which wouldn’t even cover the bills. That step was the best thing we ever could have done for our faith! God grew us and changed our hearts in so many ways, teaching us to depend more fully on Him. Although our finances suffered greatly during this time, God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it! He took care of our every need. Although this was a difficult time of trials and faith testing, we would do it all over again. God could have poured out financial blessings on us immediately, as He could have prevented the angry mob, but we would not have grown and learned the beautiful lessons he taught us.
What has God called you to? Is fear holding you back from stepping out in faith and taking the risk to obey? Just as God was patient with Gideon when he was overcome with fear he will be patient with you too. Without God, Gideon was the least of the least. With God, he was a mighty man of valor! (Judges 6:15; judges 6:12) This is what we become when we choose to, in-spite of the risk, answer and obey God’s calling.
What is the risk of not obeying God’s calling on your life? It’s simple. John 10:10 says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The risk is exactly that. You can allow Satan to steal, kill, and destroy your life, or you can obey God and face trials that produce Christ’s character in you and please Him. Which risk will you choose to take?