Judges 6:36-37 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised– look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.”
This is a famous story, and rightly so. When we come up with our own plans, we indeed need to think carefully and rationally and calculate our probability of success. Even Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30) However, He was talking about the matter of total commitment to discipleship. When it comes to specific things God tells us to do, if we fixate on our own abilities and resources, we will be paralyzed and not follow through. That’s not to say that we are to be foolish and thoughtless, but it is to say that our reliance is to be on the One who gave the command. At times like that, it is only natural that we want to be sure we heard correctly, and that is exactly what Gideon did. However, “asking for a sign” can be a cover for a simple lack of faith. Jesus dealt with that, too. “The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.’” (Mark 8:11-12) Gideon wanted to believe, but he needed encouragement, and God gave it to him.
I’ve had some interesting experiences in this area. Just a few years ago we were feeling God wanted us to buy the land next to the church building to build a senior care center there. We were excited at the idea, but had no resources. Then a non-Christian friend heard about our desire and offered, completely on their own, to lend us the necessary large amount. We took that as confirmation from the Lord, but we failed to include the church members sufficiently in our talking and planning, and there was opposition arising from disbelief. Bureaucratic regulations played a big part, but we ultimately had to set that plan aside. Frankly, that was heartbreaking. God did use those events to bring about some good things, but we came away scarred. Confirmation can be a tricky thing! However, we are completely assured that God has not abandoned us, or this city and nation, and we are to stay available to Him for however He wants to use us, whether it matches our dreams or not.
Father, thank You for all You allow us to go through. Help us learn what You want to teach us, growing as You intend, so that the results will be what You desire, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!