I love this story.
Here we have Gideon, who is actually a really impressive young bloke. I’m not sure, but I feel like sometimes we might misinterpret the fact that he came across a bit doubtful when he was called. Initially was the statement about being the least in his family, in the smallest clan and the smallest tribe or whatever, and then he put the famous fleece out overnight – twice.
The thing is, though, I can’t help but wonder if we sometimes confuse his seeking reassurance as doubting. I remember back to when God called Moses, and he just kept making excuses, to the point where it actually says that God got mad at him. However it doesn’t say that with Gideon.
And the thing is, that Gideon seems to be pretty much a man of action. One word of confirmation from the angel, and he was off tearing down the Asherah poles. Yes, it was night time. Yes, he went off and hid, but it all turned out alright.
Now, he’s got himself an army and they’re ready to take on the Midianites. 32000 or so men.
And God says he has too many people.
I tell you what, can you imagine that? God’s just called you to go down and take on an army, and just before you’re about to leave, he says, “Hold up, you’ve got too many bodies on your side. Send some of them home.”
I’d be telling him we’re off to war, there’s no such thing as too many bodies.
So Gideon turns to the men and tells them that anyone who’s scared can go home.
And 22000 of them take off.
I tell you what, I’d be watching in shock. Two thirds of the army’s just taken off, but Gideon’s still ready to go.
Except that God says he still has too many men.
I can just imagine Gideon looking up at God going, “Are you serious?”
So there’s another elimination, and Gideon’s left with 300 men.
To take on an army.
But it gets better.
They arm themselves with: A pitcher, a torch and a trumpet.
Again: “Are you serious?”
The key to all of this, though, is right back at the beginning.
The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’” ~ Judges 7:2
The point that God was trying to make, was that it wasn’t about the Israelites. The point he was trying to make, was that this wasn’t their fight, it was his – and the victory, therefore, was his too.
How often do we doubt God? How often do we look around and see our army of 32000 men and say to ourselves, “Right, I’m ready for the battle now.”
It’s not about us.
It’s not our battle.
It’s not our victory.
I can tell you that I’m not very good at letting God have control of things in my life. I’d much rather take care of it myself – in my way – with the resources around me.
But that’s not what God calls us to do.
God says to send the men home. He says you don’t need 32 thousand – you only need three hundred.
What would you achieve, if you used less than 1% of the resources you actually thought were necessary to accomplish a task?
God, however – would achieve a heck of a lot.
So next time that you feel like God’s stripping back your resources; or that he’s leaving you a little too vulnerable? Revel in it. Relish the fact that God’s probably about to do something big – and you get to witness it, and maybe even benefit from it.
When we let God do it his way, it’s going to work. Just trust him.
I never would have thought that I’d be making 7AM appointments for coffee. Welcome to the world of the working man, hmm?
Anyway, this morning I’m having coffee with a friend when, after the generic pleasantries are out of the way, the conversation steered towards the love life direction.
I find it amusing, actually. When you’re single, this is one of the most important questions that people have to ask you. My grandmother’s been asking me every time she sees me for years now, “Have you got a girlfriend yet?” Or something along those lines.
Not to say that over those times I haven’t had girlfriends at different stages (just to clarify), and I understand her perspective – she wants more grandchildren on her knee while she has the chance, so I should hurry up for her sake!
It amazes me, though, that it is so important to so many people – perhaps even more important to many of them than it is to me!
However; there was a long period of time where it was vital to my own existence – and I can’t help but ask the question now: Was it so important to me because it was so important to everyone else?
Is there peer pressure to be in a relationship?
When one of the first questions that almost everyone asks you is reinforcing the fact that you’re single, then does that actually serve to produce the feeling that you need to be in a relationship in order to be on the same level as your already-involved friends?
It becomes a pressure. While it’s probably not the conscious message that people are trying to send when they ask you about your love life, the fact is that there becomes this impression that you aren’t complete if you don’t have a partner. It’s as though we’re meant to be defined by who we are in a couple, not who we are individually.
And that’s wrong.
When it comes down to it, I’m actually happy where I am at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have someone to share my life with, but it’s not anything I have to rush. The fact is, I don’t want to be defined by my relationship. I’d much rather the two of us being defined as individuals who complement one another and enhance what are individual and independent qualities.
Second, I accept that right now I’m probably better off not in a relationship. There are other things I want to focus on, build and grow in my life so that I am the best person I can be when that wonderful lady comes along.
I hope you’ll hear my heart here. I’m not saying by any means that this isn’t the case for other couples. I do think it’s a fair statement to say that some couples are together out of a need to be with someone rather than the right one, but that’s not for me to judge, and if it works for those people, then great. For me, though, I’m happy to be single until the right one shows up.
So my statement is this: Singles, Unite! (See what I did there?) Don’t feel a need to be defined by who you are as half a couple, but be defined by who you are as a person – and find someone else who is defined by who they are as a person too!
And when that friend asks you if you’ve thought about internet dating? Well, you never know – I know it’s worked for friends of mine, and it might work for you too. You never know where you’ll meet someone these days, and in a world of online communication, maybe that’s where the best options are. To quote the friend who asked me about internet dating: “You’ve got to drop your hook in where the fish are!”
It’s Tasmania, that’s not a big deal. The joys, though, about rain is that one of the banes of my existence come out and colour the grey with their brightness.
It’s the umbrella.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the value of umbrellas. The classic black, long one allows an extra step of class on a wet day when you stroll down the street using it as a cane – not to mention an advantage if you ever get into a duel. Then, they do also protect you from the wet.
The problem I find is that the moment people put up an umbrella, they seem to forget that there are other people on the footpath too, and suddenly, it makes me want to hit you.
So here’s a few points of Umbrella Etiquette to remember.
- Get off the wall.
Okay, this is the big one, and my main reason for venting on the topic. I don’t know how many times I’m walking down the street in the rain, and some jerk holding an umbrella is walking pressed up against the wall, where the minimal amount of shelter is – and forcing other people without an umbrella to walk out and around them.YOU HAVE AN UMBRELLA!Which means YOU can be the one to step out into the rain, and let others who don’t have that protection get the little bit of coverage they can.
Seriously, I actually find myself wanting to push you out of the way when you do this.
- You’re not as small with it.
Okay, this should be common sense. When you’re holding an umbrella, it takes up more horizontal space than you do (okay, in most cases it does). You need to take into account that the gap between two people might fit you, but your umbrella might not. Lift it up, or walk around them rather than between them.
- You currently have spikes.
Following on from point two: You have spikes, so when you do try to walk between those two people, not only do they get hit with said umbrella, but it’s quite possible that you’ll take someone’s eye out. I don’t normally advocate an eye for an eye, but in some cases…
- It’s wet.
That stuff the umbrella’s protecting you from? It’s water. Water flows. So when you stop at a set of traffic lights next to someone, chances are that water’s going to drip off your nice protection and get someone else even wetter than they already are.
And trust me, while I might be okay with dealing with the softness of rain, when I suddenly get a flow of water like someone turned a tap on over my shoulder, I will always declare that the following flailing fist was an involuntary nervous reaction to its sudden drenching.
- It folds up.
If you’re not in the rain any more, fold it away – you can dry it out when you get home. At your house. On your carpet.
So next time you’re strolling down the street and want to pull out the umbrella and stay dry – feel free, but remember those of us without one. Rain rage doesn’t exist yet – but don’t rule it out!