We’re starting a church in New York City and we’d like to start an account for all the money we have received, we told the bank teller.
“Of course, how much would you like to transfer?” the woman behind the desk, inquired of our ‘growing’ church plant fund.
To which we replied, Three hundred and thirty dollars…
I let out a giggle. (I giggle when I’m nervous.) And I was nervous for good reason: three hundred dollars is barely enough to start a successful lemonade stand, let alone a sustainable church!
But as we exited the bank that day (and while the kind lady who helped us was likely telling her colleagues about the couple, bless their hearts, with the measly ‘car payment and a half’ allotted to start a church in one of the most expensive cities in the country…) we stopped at the doors and did something surprising: we took a selfie.
Yes, a selfie… To chronicle all the fear and expectancy we are feeling, yet don’t have the words to describe. To document this moment in time; where we are stepping out to do what God has asked us to do, all while lacking pretty much everything we need to do it.
Yet it is in this season of lacking – when we in no way have what we need – that I have never been more certain this is exactly where God wants me to be (and it could be where God wants you as well!)
After all, it’s where God wanted Gideon.
At the time, Israel was in shambles. An army so massive, had come in droves and stripped the nation of everything they had. It seemed no one could stand up to an enemy of this magnitude, but God had a plan and hand-selected an ordinary man named Gideon to follow through with it.
And if that wasn’t already hopeless enough, God made a strange request, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight… the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.”(Judges 7:2)
I want all the credit for the miracle that’s about to unfold, God is saying.
He then instructed Gideon to do the unthinkable: to send 22,000 of his 32,000 soldiers home.
Even still, God wasn’t satisfied.
“10,000 men is still too many…” He said. “That would be too easy of a victory.”
Pause. Am I the only one who feels God’s full-time job is tackling any attempt at my life becoming too easy? …My marriage… My (failed) attempts at getting pregnant… Heck, its hard enough trying to make friends in the south… You name it, nothing seems to come easy for me these days. Instead, God has a tendency to create a deficit so immense in my life, that His deliverance is undeniable. And that’s exactly what God did to Gideon.
In the end, God would reduce Gideon’s army from 32,000 men to —> THREE HUNDRED! The exact amount of our measly
lemonade stand, er, church planting fund!
In Judges 7:8, we find Gideon packing up the extra supplies and sending the thousands of soldiers – God said he didn’t need – home. And I wonder if in that moment, while watching the soldiers drift farther and father away that night, leaving only the magnitude of the impossible journey stretched out before him, if Gideon felt the same way we did at the bank that day; expectant, even foolish. And terrified… So terrified.
It’s not enough, God...
I wonder if that terror washed over him the same way it does me; so intense, it nearly takes my breath away. And if because of that a part of him worried, even for just a fleeting moment, what might happen if God didn’t come through like He promised… I wonder if he took a selfie.
But in Judges 7:7 God makes Gideon a promise, saying, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory…”
And it’s in that verse, God is saying to me and to you,
I can do incomprehensible things with the little you have, just wait and see! Don’t be afraid, I’m just making a deficit big enough for My deliverance. What you are lacking will be the backdrop for me to blow your mind. — Will you believe Me?
And overlooking the valley that night, Gideon declared, maybe only in the faintest whisper, I believe you.
The passage goes on to say, ‘[Gideon] took up his position with the three hundred.’ — Literally meaning, he took the little he had and accepted the challenge God had made, and that’s exactly what my husband and I did upon leaving the bank that day.
We acknowledged how scared we were, foolish even. We told God, I don’t know how on earth You are going to do this. It’s impossible really, but…
We believe You.
…And we took a blurry selfie to prove it.
I’m not sure if Gideon had any idea of the great story God was inviting him into, or if he had any inclination of the supernatural power of the Lord he was going to see with his very own eyes (and in just a matter of hours!) But if he did, he would have been eager and expectant — And the same can be said of you and me!
Because the very thing we are lacking today, will be the backdrop for the miracle we will experience tomorrow. The bigger our deficit the more room for His deliverance.
So tell God how afraid you are — Allow the fear to wash over you so intensely, it nearly takes your breath away. Giggle nervously, because for real, anyone that tells you this ‘following Jesus’ thing isn’t terrifying at times, is full of crap… then take a selfie.
God’s going to do big things with the little we have, and when He does, mark my words: we’ll have more than just a picture to prove it…