Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gideon's 300

For almost two years, my wife and I have been living on an income of $1200/month. Our bills came close to or exceeded $1700/month, yet God came through with the shortfall every single month. Although that shortfall came in many various forms - royalties from my novels, help from the church, assistance from friends, mysterious monetary findings - we were provided for.

A few weeks ago, my wife's job of 4+ years ended, leaving us with an income of $120/month.

During this walk, I've heard it said many times that because our circumstances change that maybe that's God's way of telling us that He's changed his mind or the plan we thought He laid out for us. I've come to learn that simply looking at your circumstances cannot be trusted as a clear indicator of God's will for your life. If that were true, when things get hard, we'd turn tail and run in the opposite direction God intends for us to go.

No, most times God expects us to follow Him regardless of our circumstances. And sometimes, He works those circumstances to bring us victory and Him glory.

Take Gideon for instance. He had 32,000 men at his disposal to do away with the Midianites and Amalakites that had been tormenting the people of Israel. But God thought that was too many. If they went into battle with that many and Israel won, Israel would credit themselves for the victory.

If you read through the text - Judges 7 - you'll see that God ended up leaving Gideon with 300 men to go into battle against 135,000 Midianites and Amalekites. I love the description in Vs. 12: "Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore."

God could have easily granted Gideon victory with his 32,000 men. But he wanted to show Gideon - and the rest of Israel - that he could grant victory even with only 300 at his disposal. And in doing so, Israel had no choice but to give God the credit.

God can do what He needs to with $120 as easily as he can with $1700. And He has. For the last couple weeks God brought in enough to pay our bills, either with spare jobs that came up or assistance from unlikely sources.

Don't get me wrong. This walk is difficult. To trust that God will be faithful with the promises he made - it can be hard when the waiting gets long like it has. We live in an age of instant gratification. But God does not change. He doesn't operate on our schedule. He has a master plan, and that plan will come through in His timing, which is perfect.

I am happy to say that my wife did find a great job last week that should bring in enough to pay the bills completely. We walked through the fire of trial and came out holding a crown of victory. Not just because we believed. Faith is crucial, because without faith we cannot please God. But we came through unharmed because God is faithful. Ever faithful, ever true.


Star-Dreamer said...

I read this post, and I know exactly what you mean... probably to a higher degree than most people. I've been there before... shoot, I'm there now. My father is disabled and can't work (and his stroke rendered him mentally handicapped in many cases as well), my mother stays home to take care of him and the 5 younger kids all who are homeschoold, and I'm in college and looking for a job that no one seems to want to hire me for... or hire me period. The money just barely trickles in, and as soon as it's here, it's gone.

I know that when times are tough like that, it's truly difficult to trust in God when it seems like there's no answer. But that's just it; God IS the answer. :D He's always been faithful to us and he always will be, even when we don't understand what's going on... even when we look at the moment and wonder "God, what on earth can be happening to me? How are we going to survive?"

My Dad used to tell a story of a time when he was truly questioning God's purpose for his life. My dad was an artist, and that's how he made his living. One day he asked God, "Lord, what am I if I'm not an artist?" For over a week he would go out to his art studio and pray, seeking God and asking, "What am I if I am not an artist? What am I if I don't have art?"

Then one day he heard God answer clearly, "You are my son."

My dad didn't fully understand what that meant until his stroke took the use of his right hand, which was the hand that he painted with... the hand that he made his living with. But even so, God has proved faithful and He continues to.

I just want to encourage you. ^_^ I read this post, and I knew exactly what you meant and what it felt like, but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. You are never alone. :)

And btw, thanks for stopping by The Pen and Parchment. It's nice to meet you. :D


David N Alderman said...

Nice to meet you too, Nichole. Man, I haven't been into this blog in forever. I have been meaning to resurrect it and get back to telling our story of Faith. Looks like I'll have to add it to my list of the many things that still need to be done.

And thanks for the encouragement! It's always great to meet others who are on this journey with us. :)