I have not been a fighter for much of my life. When a surly kid at camp in the third grade called me a profane name, I just decided to take it and not retaliate. It was safer than risking a counter assault. I could lose. And I could get hurt. When given the basketball in the eighth grade, I would usually throw it to someone else who seemed to know what they were doing. I wasn’t going to fight my way to the goal and risk making a mistake. No visible errors…but no points scored. The only actual fist fight I ever landed in was being assaulted by a drunken collegiate on the beach. He threw the first blow, and I went down before I had a chance to duck. My response…get up and run.
Behind all of this behavior was a subconscious truce I made with all of my anger and aggression. Push it down underneath all my fear, hoping that it would never surface. That way I would avoid all risk and potential for harm. I became nice, placid, compliant. I also became chronically depressed. The way that seemed so right at the moment was slowly suffocating me now. To get out of that dark hole from the past, I have had to rely on the Father at so many turns. I have had to choose risk over safety, danger over comfort, trust over self-protection. What happened Saturday was just another turn in the journey.
I was on my back porch early in the morning with my cup of coffee, my Bible, and my devotional book, Daily Light. As I turned to the reading for that day, I sensed the Lord whispering to me gently, “Read the story of Gideon.” It was so unusual that I stopped my routine and turned to Judges 6-7. As I began reading, it seemed like every line blinked in neon colors. The story of Gideon is the story of a relunctant warrior, called by the Lord to go and fight the Midianites and save his people. Gideon’s response to such an honor: “Excuse me, you’ve got the wrong guy for the job.” He was living out of a smallness of vision, an unwillingness to risk, and a survivalist outlook. He was living out of fear.
But the story of Gideon is the story of how a reluctant warrior becomes a conquering warrior. It’s a crazy tale with the fingerprints of God all over it. Read it yourself and see. As I finished the story, I understood the whisper. The story was for me. The Father knows my fears, that I am much like Gideon. Yet he sees deeper than my fears. He sees the man submerged under those fears. On that back porch that morning, he was calling the reluctant warrior out of me. I think I’m finally hearing that call.