The scope of my life seems to have shrunk to a tiny little circle and screeched to a grinding halt these days of having a newborn and his two big sisters. While I thank God for my wee ones, my world also feels confined in these weeks of cluster feeding, reconciling sibling squabbles, and frozen dinners which is about all I have energy for.
So I’m glad that’s where the angel found Gideon: doing the mundane daily work of beating out wheat (Judges 6:11). He was on purpose unseen, hiding from Midianites who had yet again been sent to oppress God’s people for their idolatry, swarming the Israelites crops like locusts. But God knew him, God saw him, and God called him. Yes, God does reveal Himself on high up mountains like Christ did before three of His close friends, but also He is all-seeing and the monotonous tasks are still His place of entering into your life.
Even when my life was flooded with splashy images of living in a foreign land, I struggled with this. My soul came alive during evening Bible discussions in tatami floored rooms, squished together in clusters of students and praying vehemently that the Spirit would untangle language and help me distill down the right words in my limited Japanese. Or riding in the back of a long parade of bicycles whirring under drippy umbrellas in rainy season, praising God for such a clear and obvious answer to just bring the students, Lord! Or watching the sunrise over Mount Fuji exploding the world in blazing color. Wouldn’t any of those moments cause worship to God and quicken my heart to experience His glory? Did I ever!
So where was my soul the other 99% of my waking hours? I sharply remember one tearful conversation I had with the Lord. I was, yet again, scrubbing our shower room from mold. Most houses in Japan don’t have central heating and cooling, which also means no control for humidity. Mold grows everywhere. No sooner would I unload a bottle of cancer-causing bleach chemicals than the black would start creeping through the cracks again. “This, Lord? This is what You would give me to do? What a waste!”
My heart was bent on what looked worthy, instead of believing God could be met anywhere. My posture was receptive to Him when I deemed the moment worthy, when, in fact, He is infinitely worthy, regardless of threshing wheat or leading battle, mold scrubbing or soul harvesting. In fact, usually in His economy the lesser must be done dutifully before the latter is enjoyed. (Fine. I’ll make peace with our mountain of laundry. Meet me there, Lord?)
Finally He called this man, who had not yet claimed any victories to his name, “mighty man of valor”. Yes, Gideon! The one who self-admittedly was the least in his father’s house, who was the weakest in Manasseh. What right had he to claim this name? None. But the warrior messenger sent by God was no fool. He called out to Gideon on the merit of what God would do, not on the merit of what Gideon had done.
Friends, this is a soft pitch to the gospel.
It is no secret that it’s a scandalous thing for humans to be named blameless, adopted in to His family, holy, lavished in His rich grace, heirs (just to name a few), when we know the secret that’s no secret. We are absolutely none of these things, we can only claim them by the merit of what God through Christ has done on our behalf.
We are now free to live in these new truths as soon as we’re rescued by His mercy! Yet even though Gideon’s new name was given to him, he still employed the task given by a loving and holy God. Let’s fill those names with what they mean to our living! Walk as though we’re named holy and blameless, beloved and doused in grace.
*To give credit where credit is due, my thoughts about our pal Gideon are largely informed by my brilliant sister in Christ (who I’ve never met), Priscilla Shirer. Being led through her study and helped by the Holy Spirit in understanding, my eyes were opened far wider to the story beyond the fleece and tiny army (though amazing stories, I had so much more to understand!) I hope I can thank Mrs. Shirer someday.