The Suddenly Shrinking Army

Posted: July 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

Judges 7:2 God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this – they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me.”

I can relate to Gideon. Actually, I think our whole country can relate to Gideon. Dwindling jobs, plummeting house values, collapsing economy all amount to shrinking security the likes of which we didn’t think we would see in our generation. I have been pretty safe here in my little corner of our superpower nation. But times change and armies retreat and enemies rage and we draw new pictures of what security might look like for ourselves and our children and I don’t know if anyone wants to think much further down the generational ladder than that.

Circumstances in my life pushed me into a place recently where I needed to take stock and get an accurate read on the war that I feel I’m in right now. First, I listed all the trouble above (economy, transition, etc.) as the stuff that I’m up against…then I realized that wasn’t right. The economy isn’t out to get me. The real estate market doesn’t have a vendetta against me or my future. My retirement account is not malicious – it’s just shrinking and can’t help it. These things are not forming a strategy for squishing my happiness beneath their collective shoe. It’s not that they’re my enemy – it’s that they used to be part of my army. My well-built, carefully maintained, beautifully polished army. I had circled all these soldiers around my life like my own personal band of Happiness Sentinels and I felt smart and strong for having done it. However, as I’ve watched them peel away from the place I had stuck them, I’m finding a whole new me. A new fear, yes, but also a new sense of trust. New needs, certainly, but also new expectations for what I actually need and renewed creativity on how to live peacefully in the changing landscape. There is less settledness in my home and job and portfolio, sure, but a new hunger for adventure that is refreshing. And terrifying. Refreshingly terrifying…and I actually mean that. I think that for the longest time we’ve focused on the same fears, the same issues, the same fight..and I know that for me and my house, God has called us to something that is requiring a whole ‘nother kind of courage. We’d become settlers and I suspect that He has always intended for us to be pioneers. To that end, our house is on the market. I love my house. Love it. It contains years of memories and the blood, sweat and tears that only a true fixer-upper can pull out of you. I love it and my kids love it and we bought at a good time and we don’t have to sell it…but we know that God is saying that it’s part of the army and we need to give Him the chance to release it if He wants to. I’ve cried a little (heh…”little”), and wondered a lot about why nothing gets to stay the same.

So, this morning at church we sang that incredible old hymn, “Take My Life”. One of the verses says, “Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee…swift and beautiful for Thee.” I almost couldn’t get through it…I just felt the loving nudge of the Holy Spirit saying, “It’s going to be good where you’re going…stop dragging your feet.” Not that the “going” is a literal leaving Bend or even leaving my house, but it’s a Gideon moment in my heart where I’m willing to say, “Take everything but Your presence and I will march into battle with joy.” (Maybe Carolyn will be open to coming to my house every morning and singing that song to me!)

I don’t know where you’re at today or who’s in your army. But I just wanted to write this very personal note about my current location to encourage you that in the middle of shrinking security, there is a growing sense of His power that is bigger than life and death itself. His love truly is everything.

Westward ho,


  1. I feel ya, Bo! This is such a word for me too! We are up to our elbows in change and transition right now, but we know that God is bigger than it all and is doing so much of it. He’s peeling away stuff and even in some cases, people. None of it feels good, that’s for sure. As you said though, “in the middle of shrinking security, there is a growing sense of His power that is bigger than life and death itself. His love truly is everything.”


  2. ci says:

    Oh wow…do I know what you’re talking about. It feels like the shrinking is everywhere. In times like these, God shines ever brighter and faithful. He is enough. The whole Gideon moment is powerful and freeing and gets us looking in the right direction for authentic provision and love. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tracy says:

    Standing beside you in battle my Sister! You are such a strong woman, thanks for leading the way!

    if Carolyn comes to your house every morning, then please call me and I’ll be there too!

  4. Helen says:

    Hi Bo,

    Powerful writing…powerful path you are on…

    So many times over the last many years I turn to Psalm 46…in the past I have focused on being still and knowing that God is just that God…other times I have camped on the fact that God is an ever present help in times of trouble…times where it felt very much like the earth was shifting below my feet…but lately I have resided in the place of this…the place of THERE IS…

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

    Any place where the Lord is…where the Lord leads is a place where He dwells and there is life…waters teeming with life and gladness. I know God is walking right with you and your family and He will not let you fall…He will help you find your place.

    It’s interesting when I was typing the word dwell from the psalm I incorrectly typed swells…I pray that for you that the Most High would swell in your midst so that you see just Him and not the other things that can blind and distract your vision of Him…and only Him.

    Prayers over you,


  5. Vangi says:

    Bo — aack, — hit! You may have even “sunk my battleship.” Good work! 🙂 I currently have no home (may I whine for just a moment) and it has occured to me that I may be in this position for the next 6 mos. to a year; only God knows, and as of late, I am mostly happy with that reality. Cool thing is this: wait, I think there’s two cool things:
    1) Any where Jesus is, that’s home. I wrote a song along those lines a few months ago. It’s true. He is our home. He is the only truly sweet place, comfy spot, security.
    2) He is sneakily, surprisingly abundant in His provision. Oooo, I love that about Him. He is providing temporary homes for us, ten days here, a month there (well, currently “here” right now in Redding), a few months hanging out with family in Oregon…great times ahead. Just not with a lot of, you know, extra info. So overrated anyway, that extra info, right? The wheres, whens, for how longs (those should be apostrophed, maybe?). So much fluff. 🙂
    My mind could spin, and has on more than one occasion, about the future frontier. Thank-you for being one more anchoring moment for my thoughts — you have headed off at the pass one more crisis moment I would have otherwise encountered in this journey to the other side of the world. Thank-you, fellow pioneer woman!

    I love you!

  6. bolovesjoe says:

    Oh goodness…all your comments were so encouraging. It’s good to know Jesus leading us all safely…even if we don’t feel it.

    Vangi, loved your explanation of the unexplainable. Perfect. Exactly where I’m at, too, though my life is slightly more settled than yours. 🙂 One thing that happened last week that was so cool was God kept speaking to me about Deborah and how she found peace under the palm tree and then she found the same peace marching out into battle. There’s this line in the Song of Deborah where she says, “The torrent swept in from Kishon, the rushing torrent; O, my soul, march on in strength!” Such good theology right there…even when all certainty is swept away, my soul can know – and march, and rest – in strength. Love you too!

  7. kat says:


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