Being honest today… I have struggled with mental instability for a season. Because of this, I often feel stuck in a volcanic flow of raging thoughts, precariously balanced on the one stone floating in the sea of fire. Ministry to anyone and everyone requires me to leap over the flow and onto the next stone just ahead. So, I leap, over and over. Tired and ashamed of this contest, I often just want to give myself over to the flames that lick at my heels and end this game.
Yet I don’t. Today, while reading about Gideon, I realized that he too felt inadequate, having been defined by his family and community. When the Lord asked him to take a leap of faith, he chose to hide, let the end come as it may. But his very weakness, his own fears caused him to inquire of God. Some may say his fleeces are a sin, but I see a man honest with himself and God. Working only with the strength he had within him, which was quite small and faithless, he started his journey with an inquiry. If questioning God is a sin, why didn’t God punish him? Instead this Powerful Lord jumped through all of Gideon’s hoops in order to gain his trust, earn his faith.
Now it was Gideon’s turn to jump through some hoops. With little to work with, 300 men against 10s of thousands, Judges 6:14 says, 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
The strength Gideon had, the strength I have, seems small, yet we start there. So I leap over the swirling lava to the stone floating nearby, sense the searing heat as I pass over to land safely at my next assignment (which is mostly just life, no saving Midianites, just making a ministry out of dinner.)
It is in this leap of faith that the Lord then says in verse 34, 34” But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon WITH HIMSELF and took possession of him, and Gideon blew a trumpet, and the clan … was gathered to him.” Only when I cross over my mental instability does God take over and do the ministry I could not just a minute ago.
Something Paul said comes to mind:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10: Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me:
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (The Message)
And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. I used to have my own strength to carry me through; I did not feel the need to drop to my knees for God’s help and favor. Now, in this season, swirling thoughts of inadequacy, failures, unworthiness come, BUT I still trust God, I glory in my weakness because my moving forward in it is a sign of faith that His strength will be there. I still walk in Faith, maybe more so because of the volcanic storm that weakens me.
No longer will shame be the mark of my weakness, but rather I glory in my weakness so Christ’s strength and power can take over!