Before I forget, let me belatedly wish everyone reading this a very Happy Independence Day! Yes, I know that you’re reading this after the fact, but there was no way to do it differently this year, so... get over it and just appreciate the well-wishing.
I tell ya, with a uniquely contentious Presidential election coming up, an amazing number of people want to chat about political issues (I took part in a several discussions that various people began on Monday as we got together before the fireworks). On one hand, it’s great to hear people realizing how important it is to thoughtfully involve themselves in the political process in our country. On the other hand, it’s a bit sad to hear how many people in our country are basically just emotive and polarizing in their conversations rather than genuinely trying to respectfully interact with one another over the issues.
But even then, those discussions do bring to the forefront the deeply-felt and ingrained sociological beliefs people have -- not just their liberal or conservative politics, but their sincere belief that everything would be okay if only X or Y would happen. If our side (whichever side that is) could control this aspect of things (whatever aspect that is), then history would finally be headed in the right direction (whatever direction that is).
But as we discussed in our message this week, nothing will ever be “perfect” in this world, and a complex situation is rarely decided by one or two simple elements. Gideon was tasked with having to defeat the all-but- innumerable hordes of Midianites who were infesting Israel at the time -- so naturally, he assumed that he just might succeed if he could get himself more men for his army. But God told him that after all of his work collecting people -- after all of the stuff that Gideon had done to try to control the situation, to make sure that things finally headed in the right direction -- he had actually gotten too many soldiers. So God whittled his troops down by 2/3... and then by another 97 percent after that.
When Gideon faced the Midianites, he had only 1% of the resources that he’d originally thought that he’d needed. If God did that in your life, you’d tend to have less faith in the outcome of the situation, wouldn’t you?
But God actually did that to help them have more faith in the outcome. With 32,000 men behind him, a victory might have given Gideon the impression that he’d done well in the battle -- but with only 300 men behind him, the victory proved to Gideon that God had done well in the battle. It became a matter of faith in God’s infinite resources, rather than faith in our own quantifiable resources.
The fact is, you’ll never have enough stuff, enough time, enough of your party’s people in public office, enough money in your pocket, enough people in your church, etc., for you to finally be able to have faith in God’s sovereignty in a situation. It’s a logical impossibility. If you have enough ducks in a row in order to finally trust God, then you’re not really trusting in God -- you’re only trusting in your row of ducks. Genuine faith comes from trusting in God without necessarily seeing all of your own requirements being met first.
So what do you need to see happen before you can trust God to be sovereign over... whatever situation it is that you need to trust Him in? And what resources will God have to prune from your life to remind you to trust first and foremost in Him, instead of in the ducks you’d like to see first?