If you have ever thought, The problems of the world are enormous, and I’m just one rather weak-kneed person, keep reading.
If you do not have the physical strength of NFL linebackers, the political muscle of legislators, the influence of celebrities, or the wealth of Wall Street, keep reading.
Some of my favorite books and movies tell stories of people who accomplished great good by the force of their convictions, personal sacrifice and leadership. The Power of One and Lorenzo’s Oil are two such inspiring movies that, even though I saw them years ago, impressed on me the potential power of human perseverance in the face of challenges.
Stories like these suggest that if we were all less selfish, more unified and a smidgen smarter we could fix all the problems of the world. Right?
Perhaps we flatter ourselves.
The Bible tells a slightly different story.
In fact, it is God who changes the world. We pretty much go along for the ride.
Back in the days of ancient Israel God repeatedly demonstrated that He was the agent of change. To make sure that was unmistakably clear, God frequently chose to work through the most unlikely people.
One of Israel’s most reluctant heroes was Gideon, a weakish man who lived during the time of the Judges (Israel’s adolescent period) when a rival nation, the Midianites, was terrorizing Israel by trashing their fields and stealing their harvests.
We meet our hero, Gideon, hiding in a wine-press when an angel visited him and greeted him with the absurd title of “mighty warrior.” Right.
Gideon was reluctant to enter battle with the Midianites like a “mighty warrior,” but God patiently confirmed his command to Gideon with fleeces that stayed dry when they should have been wet and vice-versa. Then God said, “You have too many men,” and he trimmed Gideon’s fighting force from twenty-two thousand down to just three hundred.
Gideon’s story in Judges 6-7 is convincing evidence that God does not need our strength or skill as much as he needs our readiness and obedience.
In some mysterious way, God accomplishes his work by his power, and yet he desires and demands our participation. God said to Gideon, and I believe he says to us, “Go in the strength that you have.” I guess human weakness is no hindrance to God’s work; nor is it an excuse for my inaction.
No less than the Apostle Paul boasted of weakness after Jesus reminded him that, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
As one who is not particularly powerful in any way, I desire to act in the strength that I have to the glory of the One who empowers me.
Have you experienced the power of God made perfect in your weakness? I’d love to your inspiring stories!