Power Beyond Us

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 3, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

When we lived in Ohio, a close family member was rushed to the hospital close to death because of a secondary infection after a surgery. It was sudden, there was no time for me to get there, and the situation was progressing rapidly. I called a friend whom I knew would pray for my family member, with confidence in God's power to change the situation. Then all I could do was pray from a distance and wait.

It's hard when you realize a situation is out of your control. It can be jarring to our heart and mind to realize that even our very best effort has no power to change the situation. It's in that moment that we will see what we really believe. Under that kind of pressure, either our self-willed life will struggle and crumble, or our faith-filled life will surrender to the one who has the power to impact the situation.

Take a moment and read Judges 7:19-25. We are continuing where we left off last week. Gideon was afraid to face 135,000+ Midianites, with only 300 fighting men, and God had him go into the camp under cover to be encouraged. (Read last week's blog post here.)

Now, Gideon has to initiate the battle. God promised this battle was already won, and that it would be clear that God brought the victory. So, the plan was to spread the 300 men out around Midian's camp, and have them shout, smash some pots, and blow trumpets. Now, I don't know about you, but some smashed pots, shouts, and trumpets don't seem like an effective battle strategy for a 300 vs. 135,000 grudge match. But when God prepares the victory, when God's power and purposes are on the field, it's no longer about the strength we bring. We get in our places on the field and do our part. But everyone can see clearly it is GOD who did something way beyond our ability.

Well, this night for the Midianites had to be like camping out with a bunch of middle schoolers who are telling ghost stories and getting themselves all worked up. (It doesn't take but a stick to crack from a deer passing by, for everyone to start screaming and diving into their tents because they believe the "red eyed, one armed, axe murderer" is coming to get them.) Midian's soldiers already believed that Gideon was going to destroy them. God gave them a dream with a message that showed Gideon as the one to conquer them. So when Gideon's men shattered the pots, shouted and blew the trumpets, the whole Midian camp freaked out in terror. They started to run away, and were fighting as they went. The confusion and terror was so great, they never realized they were fighting other MIDIANITES - killing their own comrades!

We find out later that 120,000 swordsmen died that night, and the kings of Midian fled with only 15,000 fighting men left. All because 300 men smashed jars, shouted, and blew horns. The 300 who stood there watching this, even though they were fighting men, knew they had nothing to do with the victory. The battle was won by God before it ever started. They never had to lift a sword until they gave chase to the few who remained.

As I sat in Ohio and waited for word on my family member, I felt so helpless, but I knew God could do anything. I received a phone call the next day from that family member, and they said that they were feeling much better and expected to make a full recovery. They said when my friend started to pray they were aware of how quickly they were slipping away, and not feeling able to fight, to hang on. Apparently, my friend's prayer was bold and loud, because as sick as my relative was, they remember the nursing staff was fixated on this prayer. And when the prayer was over, my family member remembers being at ease, feeling strength, and knowing that things would be ok.

Later the doctors found the infection and removed it, and my relative made a full recovery. Other family members recall that single moment of prayer turned a corner in the declining situation. They visibly saw a change in the pallor and presence of our relative. The change in condition gave the doctors time to do their job.

My friend wasn't the only one to pray for my relative, and it wasn't any power my friend had in himself to rescue people from death. I could have been there and been the one to pray, or I could have prayed and had it make no difference. The power didn't come from the one praying, or from the title of being a pastor, or for me being related and also being a pastor. None of that made a difference. Only God's power made a difference. And everyone who was there knew that God made the healing possible; not my friend, not the doctors, not me. It was not about the "professionals" - with God we have no such title. We each did what we could. It was God who saved and healed, and everyone knew it.

As you look at the impossible situations or the big decisions in front of you, take encouragement from the last several weeks’ blog posts so you can be obedient and do what is wise and good in God's eyes. Like Gideon, go in the strength that you have, do the part you are supposed to do, and then let God show His power to bring about what is best for everyone involved.

Are you willing to let God do His part? Do you struggle with trusting God to deliver on His promises? Maybe you are just too used to making things happen for yourself?

Take time to listen to God, discern His next steps for you, and then as you go forward REMEMBER and TRUST the one who brought you there. God WANTS to be seen in your situation. How are you being positioned to let HIM be seen?

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