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.