How do we know if we are a courageous person or not? The answer is different than expected, if you have knonw fear and kept moving although you were terrified, you are courageous. The times when we are courageous, we don’t always feel like we are. We are courageous when our knees are shaking, our heart is in our throats, and we feel small and cowardly, but we still do what we know is right. God knows our terror and our fears and is there for us when we call on him. * He may not answer or deliver like we think he should, we may be in the spot longer. Sometimes God walks us through our fear and helps us face it, as he did with Gideon. In the book of Judges, after his people cry out in fear, God reminds Israel of all of their previous deliverances and that he will do it again.
How God Approaches in Our Fear
In Judges 6:11-12, we find Gideon trying to process his wheat in a winepress. Why? Because he’s hiding from the enemy. At first glance, Gideon might seem cowardly. We need to give the man some credit; he’s still getting out there and getting work done even though the enemy lurks nearby.In modern times, the causes of our fears are less obvious. I’ve been found in my version of the winepress, like Gideon, getting work done but nonetheless hiding from that nagging fear. God approaches Gideon with the affirmation. There was courage in the act of using the winepress. Gideon wasn’t trying to be courageous; he was doing what needed to get done even in a fearful way and less productive. God sees our smallest acts of courage and can guide us through our fear.
11 Now the [a]Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, … Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man.”Judges 6:11-12
Why Weren’t You There for Us?
In verses 7-10 of Judges 6, God reminds Israel of all of the answered prayers of the past to encourage their faith and help them be brave. When fear strikes, we need to apply that lesson. To be courageous, we must remind ourselves of all of God’s past victories on our behalf. The way to become overcome fear is to think about times we felt abandoned, disapointed, and wronged. Gideon does this to God in verse 13. This type of thinking disheartens us and steals our courage. Gideon even reminded God of his lack of power and position and why he should fail and be afraid. Because of this mindset, he had to ask God for signs to keep up his faith. God graciously walks him through, giving him what he needed, but he shows us we can do more than Gideon.
13 And Gideon said to him, “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
Trust Proven Goodness
God reminds us not only of how he’s come through before, of what he’s called us to do but also of who we are in him. Maturity and bravery start when we do this for ourselves. We remember our former blessings and God’s character and love for us. God’s will is good and right, and yes, we suffer difficult times, and we won’t know every reason why life happens the way it does. This is where faith comes in. We need to trust (and be okay with) the fact that there are things we won’t know or can’t understand. Will we trust in times of his proven goodness, or the troubles of the past? I personally hate it when someone you love thinks the worst of me after I’ve proven my love? I believe that God feels similar when we do that to him.
14 And the Lord[a] turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”Judges 6:14
He’ll Do it Again
In Judges 6:14 God was gracious and patient with a terrified Gideon. He gave him a vision of himself as a warrior, and regardless of Gideon’s arguments, God pushed him to be his best. God even gave him confirmation and encouragement every step of the way unitl his faith was strong. He will do this for us too. Are you facing a fear like Gideon? Think of what GOd has done before and ask him to come through again. Strain to reach your faith, and trust God to take care of the rest.
God, I thank you that you the person reading this was brought here by you, to let them know you are there. You see their fear, you appreciate the gravity of their circumstances, and you will walk with them towards a miracle and give them what they need to make it through. I pray that we will begin to see ourselves through your eyes, knowing that we can go beyond our limitations through you. I bind that spirit of fear, and I ask you to give this reader encouragement and courage as we stretch our faith and see your goodness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.