Saturday, January 10, 2015

Heart change for a "Might Man of Valor"?

(Bee finally found her "window friend". Oh, what childhood would be with out Anne of  Green Gables.)
There is an end in sight! I have a date for my telecommuting to begin and I can't wait to finally be working from home. I loved home health for the flexible schedule, so the last few months in the city have been difficult. Being a grown up with a regular day job...who does that?

This week I have been thinking about what makes one person so different from another in the way they respond to things. Steve and I made a decision a long time ago to try and believe the best of people. My skeptical heart needs that. If I didn't consciously DECIDE to trust people and believe their motives were good, I would have to go live in a convent somewhere. But I am still shocked at how broad the range of emotions can be.

(She loves playing dress up with her dog.)
We had the opportunity to listen to the stories of complete strangers last week after they did a weekend seminar called "Heart Change". (Very cool 4 day long program, click here and check it out.) I was surprised at what I heard, and so thankful for the way God works. Dozens of people going through the same program, with SO MANY different responses.

What has been replaying most in my head though was the story they re-told, Gideon's calling in Judges 6. Having just come off of Christmas and spending so much time with the Advent story, I had been struggling with the way God handled Zechariah and the coming of the John the Baptist. Basically, Zechariah is at work, in the temple of God, and He has a visit from an angel saying "Woot woot! Baby on the way!" But Zechariah doubted, he said his wife is an old could this possibly be true?

(Bee loves her cuddly furball!)
Well, the response was pretty drastic:
"The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time".  Luke 1:19-20

Ummm...that stinks. All December I just kept feeling like it wasn't quite right. Why, God? With all the times I have questioned you, doubted Your words... is it wrong to doubt? Wrong to be scared when the things I thought were suppose to happen seems like they are a big fat mess? I know. God is good. God is love. God is just. But my heart went out to what I saw as "poor Zechariah". I can relate to folks who get some of God's discipline.

NOW, back to Mr. Gideon. Here's this little chicken dude who is sneaking around to do his farm work because he knows if the "Big Dogs", aka Midianites, see his harvest, he's going hungry. And the angel of the Lord comes to Him...and calls him "Mighty Man of Valor".

"Who, me?"

The story literally makes me laugh. God says all sorts of awesome stuff, "Mighty Man of Valor....Go in STRENGTH....I will be WITH you... blah blah" and Gideon just keeps saying "Pardon me, Lord???"

So good, go read it- Judges 6 and 7. The link is above, or crack open your bible. It's hilarious. Gideon becomes SO tough. Not perfect, but truly a mighty man of valor. And his land had peace for 40 years.

Long story short, I keep comparing Zechariah and Gideon. Their questioning, their concerns, and God's response. What was the difference? One man got a reprimand, and another got sign after sign of what God would do for him and those he loved...if he would obey.

(Our favorite hiding place, behind the couch. )
Could it simply have been a matter of the heart? I don't really know, but I can't help but picture Zechariah- a Super Priest. Religious and zealous. Looked up to by his neighbors and peers, chosen to go directly to the HOUSE of God Almighty. Then I picture Gideon- sweaty farmer, muscles and dirt, just trying to get food for his family and stay alive as an oppressed people in the midst of a hostile country.

I wonder if Zechariah had pride in his heart when he questioned God's words. Or even scoffed a little. I wonder if Gideon was just plain scared. Willing, but terrified he misunderstood something.

Let me know if you have an answer. For now, I am just so thankful that God is slow to anger with me. That He loves me in spite of me, and has demonstrated unfailing patience when I doubt the things I know our true. That He speaks to me, repeatedly, the Truth I need.

Thank you, Papa. For the grace and openness of our relationship to You. Thank you that you hear us, love us, and always give us extra chances. Change my heart, Lord. Make it a fire that burns brightly for you, make me a "Mighty" woman who takes you at your word.

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