I am more a Gideon than an Isaiah.
When God called Gideon to defeat the Mideonites, Gideon pleaded for God to find someone else. (In fact he was in hiding when God’s angel approached him, calling him, ironically, “a mighty man of valor.”) Then Gideon requested confirmation from God that he would be successful. He put out a fleece and asked that in the morning it be wet and the ground dry. When that indeed happened, Gideon had the nerve to ask if the following morning the fleece could be dry and the ground wet. Finally the reluctant hero acquiesced.
Isaiah on the other hand came face to face with God’s holy presence and bowed in awe and terror, distraught over his own sin and that of the world. When God asked, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responded. “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” No fleece necessary.
The problem with faith is, well… it requires faith.
And what is faith?
The Bible says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.” It’s the not-seen part that’s problematic.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
I prefer to see the staircase. I am a risk-averse introvert who downs a bloody mary, no matter that it’s 6AM, in order to fly in a plane. I use coffee, wine, and a swig of 5-hour energy to be more extroverted (but not too) in social settings.
But I can say that when life is hard and I hide like Gideon, that’s when my faith has a chance to grow. Because faith is not an abstract concept. It is not faith in faith. It is faith in a God whose name is Faithful. Who is mighty to save. Who waits for feeble faith to come out of hiding.
This God patiently dry-cleans a sheep skin to alleviate a soldier’s fear; He lifts a prostrate prophet off the ground and extends courage for the task ahead. And he meets me in the seat of a plane, downing a xanex without even water and all but kissing the ground of the baggage claim floor upon arrival. (Interestingly, my fear-set does not extend to germs.)
I love the song, My Redeemer Lives, by Nicole C. Mullens. There’s an impromptu line that you won’t find in the printed lyrics.
“I know my Redeemer lives. I spoke with him this morning.”
So even as I beg and plead and ask God for fleeces, I know my Redeemer lives. He will lead me down that unseen staircase one step at a time.
I know that I know.
I spoke with him this morning.