The Gift of Weakness
I love the story of Gideon, a man filled with insecurity and doubt, who delivers his people from an exceedingly strong enemy by the empowerment and direction of God. In case the story is new to you, here is a brief synopsis: Israel turned away from God to follow the idols of the Amorites, and so God removed his protection over them. They were oppressed for seven years by the Midianites who destroyed their livestock and crops; Judges 6:5 says that the Midianite tents were as numerous as a swarm of locusts. The Israelites were so oppressed by them that they subsisted in caves, mountain clefts, any hiding places they could find.
Finally, they cried out to God for deliverance, and God sent the angel of the Lord to Gideon, the weakest and least significant member of his clan. I love that. It is a great comfort to me that God has a different set of criteria than our culture for choosing a person to carry out his will. We naturally gravitate to those with beauty, strength, intelligence, charisma, wealth, popularity, but God chooses ones from among the overlooked and rejected, and he makes them great. In 1 Samuel 2:8-9, Hannah declares, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” In Luke 1:53, Mary says, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
Is it surprising to you that one of God’s greatest desires for you is that you simply and freely be yourself? No more, no less. So what does this have to do with our life of prayer? God shows us through his response to Gideon that: