Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name. (Psalm 79:9)
We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. (1Thessalonians 1:4-5)
Relate: There I sat, handcuffed, sitting on the side of the expressway while a few cops were rifling through the contents of my car. This is not how I pictured my first day as a new youth pastor in Long Island. I was probably only there for about 10-15 minutes, tops, and the handcuffs had come off almost immediately but it seemed like hours.
I love books. I collect them. Lots of them. I had recently moved back to NY and had been hired as a youth pastor on Long Island. Most of my stuff was going into my apartment but I was also transporting most of my books up to my mom’s house where she has plenty of storage room. I had four 18 gallon rubbermaid bins full of books in my trunk. I had three more in the backseat with boxes of books on top of that. You can imagine how low the back of my car was riding.
The had been intelligence traffic that raised the terrorist threat in NYC that weekend. Cops were on high alert. Then all of a sudden this head shaved, twenty something kid is driving along in an old Mercury Cougar riding with enough weight that sparks were probably flying every time I hit a pothole. Next thing I know I’m pulled over being interrogated by one cop while a half dozen others are going through all of my stuff. I could picture tomorrow’s headlines: Youth Pastor Detained For Suspected Terrorist Activity
Gideon wasn’t having the day he had expected. He had called out the army and they came. Thirty-two thousand strong they came. But then God said, “that’s too many.” Twenty-two thousand of them were sent packing. But then God said, “that’s still too many.” Now he’s left with three hundred. Then he gets the battle plan, “Break the jars, blow the trumpets, raise the torches, and shout.” Great God, then what? “Nothing. That’s it.” This isn’t what Gideon was expecting. Things were going from bad to worse really quickly.
React: Sometimes this adventure of a life following God is just that, an adventure. But adventures have scary moments. Adventures have conflict and chaos. Adventures have plot twists and impossible problems. Sometimes the hero in an adventure needs a little reassurance. Fortunately, God knows that. Sometimes as we walk this life He knows we need Him to come and walk beside us and hold our hand. Sometimes before the big things, we need to see in little ways that He is still in control. Sometimes we need those grace training wheels. Four times in Gideon’s story God showed him that he was on the right track.
What about me? What about us? When was the last time I’ve stepped back and said, “God, I could really use a little reassurance right now.” If it has been a while is that because I don’t need it? Am I not stepping out in faith? There’s no need for reassurance when I’m not risking big. If everything is going fine, is that because I am not daring enough for God? He is more than willing to give me a little reassurance when I need it. Do I need it?
God, sometimes I recognize that things aren’t going to go as I’ve planned. Sometimes there are going to be roadblocks and detours on this road. Help me to keep following You. When things aren’t all open roads and clear skies, help me to keep following You. When everything seems to be falling apart, help me to keep following You. Help me to never forget that as long as I do, You will hold it all together. I am safe in Your hands.