I like the story of Gideon from the Old Testament book of Judges. In chapter 6 we read that Gideon lived at a time when the Midianites were oppressing the Children of Israel and taking everything they had. It was a desperate time when people were struggling just to survive.
When we first read about Gideon, he was threshing some wheat and trying to hide it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord came to him and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)
I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine that the angel appearing to Gideon probably scared him because he was trying to be secretive and hide some wheat. On top of that, the angel’s greeting probably seemed completely ridiculous to him. After all, he was hiding and barely able to feed himself, hardly the image of a mighty warrior.
After getting over the shock of the angel’s greeting, Gideon said, “But sir, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
It’s not hard to imagine that I might have given the angel a similar reply if I had been the one who was struggling just to put some food on my table. I think that many Christians today are asking these same questions, “If God is with us, then why are things so bad? And where are His miracles?”
We may not be as depressed about our situation as Gideon, because we may not feel like God has abandoned us. But we may feel like God is a long way away and that He may not be very happy with us.
As Gideon was about to find out, God never abandons His people. Even if we have sinned, God wants to forgive us and show us His love. When we feel that God is distant He tells us, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8)
God will come to our rescue and change our lives if we will simply make that first step and begin to trust Him. He is still the same God that we read about in the Bible and He wants to reveal Himself and His power to us.
For Gideon, everything changed when he asked God to answer a few simple prayers. We often talk about Gideon’s fleece and that we shouldn’t look for signs, but God wants us to see that He hears our prayers and answers them. When we bring some small requests to Him, and then expect Him to answer, we will see that He is faithful.
Gideon never would have been able to defeat the Midianites if he hadn’t first come to understand that God had not abandoned them. Gideon’s fleece teaches us how God showed a man who was full of doubt and fear that He cared about him. And it shows us that miracles can only happen when we are convinced of God’s love for us.
Gideon’s story doesn’t stop after God answered his simple prayers and neither will ours. As we draw close to God and learn about His love and faithfulness, He will ask us to obey Him. As we learn to trust and obey Him more, we will see His miracles.