Whether we’re praying for God’s hand of help or for his hand of direction, we often want to know what our role is. Sometimes, it’s obvious. God might flood us with a peace or a certainty about a decision. He might give us a dream or put too many unrelated things together. But more frequently, it seems that the path is less certain. What does God want from me? I wonder if, in these times, we forget how much guidance God has already given us through His Word. We just need to know how to apply it.
Dr. Henry Cloud once said, “There’s no one right way to respond all the time. What you’ll see is, it takes something called wisdom.”
Great. I know – that sounds hard, and I like easy. And while God promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it (James 1:5), I often feel like I’m quite lacking in that department. Looking for guidance, I recently flipped to the book of Proverbs. I noticed a pattern: again and again, God links wisdom with discipline (Proverbs 1:2, 7, 23, 3:11-12). God wants us to be learners. Listeners. Humble. Maybe one way he teaches us wisdom is through correction, I thought.
Then real life happened:
I had a whisper to address a conflict. I really had no idea how I should do it and much preferred someone else, someone more wise and experienced with conflict resolution, take care of it for me. I reached out to a friend who met this description, but she declined my request… Some friend, I thought.
I felt entirely inadequate, terrified of making things worse and far uncertain of what to say or how to say it. And then I was reminded of a teaching on God’s direction for his servant to “go in the strength he had.” Judges 6, thanks to a quick Google search, the story of Gideon.
Gideon was directed to go out into battle and, like myself, felt inadequate to carry out the task before him. “The Lord turned to (Gideon) and said, ‘Go in the strength you have… I will be with you.’” (Judges 6:14-16)
I paced back and forth across my kitchen, knowing I was being dramatic, but also trying to rationalize with myself why this idea wasn’t even God to begin with. Finally, with my Bible on the counter, open to Judges 6, I took a step. God had put something on my heart, and I knew he hadn’t left me to do it alone. I made a phone call and didn’t talk with perfect suave or ease (at all), but I went in the strength I had and did the best I could. And I let God humble me and teach me through the process.
While it’s unbiblical to suggest that we should just fly through life making whatever choices we want, it is biblical for God to whisper small bits of direction, leaving us largely uncertain of many details we would consider important. I think it’s in those moments that we need to remain open to and expectant of His correction, and most importantly, to go. In the strength we have, we need to make our move.
Like Gideon never would have seen God’s hand of deliverance if he didn’t step out when he was called, with both the abilities and lack of abilities God had equipped him with, so it is with us. Sometimes I think the worst thing we can do is nothing at all. Rather, when we risk things not going perfect, risk relying on God’s strength and provision, we can let him catch and redirect us when we slip off course.
We might feel uncomfortable or inadequate, but when we remain open to His voice and His correction, we just might grow in wisdom as we live out our life experiences. And God promises that’s worth more than anything else we could ever acquire.
Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:13-15
Read: Judges 6:7-24
Stepping In: What are some of the things that God reminds the Israelites he has done for them (vs 8-10)? What’s the first thing the angel says to encourage Gideon (vs 12)? How can remembering the things God has done and remembering that He is with us bring us peace if we’re moving forward with uncertainty?
Journeying Further: Continue reading Judges 6:25-40. Even after Gideon had such a powerful experience initially, he still needed additional confirmation and encouragement from God. How can this story affect your own walk with the Lord? How is God your peace when you need additional confirmation and encouragement?