“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12 (NIV)
Last time we were together I shared about how I’m currently struggling with fully surrendering to God – giving Him complete control and not worrying. I shared how I’m more like the Israelites than I want to be – that despite the ways God has continually been there for me, I’m always asking for confirmation, affirmation before stepping because I’m so afraid I’m not moving when I’m supposed to be, moving when I’m not supposed to be or missing the mark altogether.
I’ve been struggling for the past five months or so. God has begun speaking dreams and desires into my life. Passions that He planted there eight years ago from nothing but a sincere prayer that I wanted to live a life of purpose for Him, whatever that meant. Passions that now have become my passions and longings and gifts and talents to offer back to Him.
A few years ago I had to go through a process of giving those dreams and desires He planted into my heart back to God, similar to when Abraham offered his son Isaac to the Lord. Abraham had confidence that God would either give Isaac back to him or would fulfill His promise to Abraham that he would “be the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4b, NIV). However, this past December, God started waking those dreams up again and I believe now is the time.
Just as God started stirring my heart almost two years ago that He was going to bring about change and then He did, approximately six months ago God started whispering to me change is getting ready to happen again.
I feel as though I’m in limbo right now, though, and am struggling with whether I’ve missed the mark and was supposed to step into the river, or if I’m still waiting for God to give the command to move. For months I’ve been acting like the Israelites. Despite all the times God has shown up and worked miracles and orchestrated things in my life, I’m still asking for confirmation, affirmation and proof.
This week, while reading in Judges about Gideon, I believe God gave me the answer I needed. I was given a Life Application Study Bible from a dear friend last year and God has used that version to further cement truths into my heart He doesn’t want me to miss. Judges 6:11-12 states, “The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” God opened my eyes to the truth of this verse. While Gideon was living life, actually while Gideon was hiding away in his family’s winepress to keep their enemies from stealing their food, God showed up to give him his assignment.
God then reminded me about Noah, Moses, David, Esther, and Mary. The Bible isn’t specific about what Noah was doing when God approached him to build an ark, so that leads me to believe he was busy living life, providing for his family. Moses was tending sheep in the desert for his father-in-law when God used the burning bush to get his attention. David was tending sheep for his family, doing his job, when he was summoned by Samuel to be anointed as the next king of Israel. Esther was living in the palace with her eunuchs and female attendants when God called her to step up into her assignment and Mary, mother of Jesus, was living with her family preparing for her wedding to Joseph when God called her.
As I shared in Back to the Basics – Part IV, there have been times in my life when God has called me to step into the river before I knew the next part of His plan. When I chose to obey, He did amazing things. However, God was very specific during those times and made sure I didn’t miss the memo it was time to take that step.
I believe He used the story of Gideon and David, Noah, Moses, Esther and Mary to remind me sometimes I’m required to step and other times He will show up when I’m living life, as He works in the background to set up the amazing things He wants to perform.
It’s up to me to stay fully surrendered, listening to His voice so I know when to step and when to continue to live life. I believe the stirring He started in my heart for the change that is coming is true. I’m having to learn patience while I wait because I want to step into His purpose yesterday. I believe when it does arrive, it will be more amazing than anything I can ever imagine, not because I deserve it, but because I got out of the way and let God dictate the direction and timing that was best to fulfill His purpose.
Bottom line? When I’m fully surrendered to Him, I’m living to fulfill His purpose. When I stay out the way and focus on it being all about Him, I allow great things to happen for His glory.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018