One of the most oft-prayed requests we make (don't any of you even try to wiggle out of this either- Busted!) is "God, help me do X" or "Lord, help me accomplish Y." And I'm sure there is a "Please" thrown in there too (especially by us Southerners - we want to pray politely now, don't we). "So, what's wrong with that?" you must be asking yourself. We'll I'll tell you what's "wrong wit' dat". But allow me first to completely twist around an old Bible story to fit the topic of this admonition. The story of Gideon.
Gideon, if you recall, was the smallest man, in the smallest family, in the smallest tribe of Israel (which was possibly the smallest country in ancient times - but I really don't know for sure). God sent an angel to Gideon to tell him he was about to have a huge career change. Farmer to Army general. (And I can't even get promoted to Assistant to the Manager!) So Gideon, who is very suspicious of this enormous promotion...and clearly is not afraid enough of this angel, decides to get cute. And test God by asking Him to make some fleece wet.
Now, let me just say, that for the record, Gideon could have done a lot better in the "Test God" department. Really, you want God to wet some fleece. This is what it will take to convince you to leave your farm and go fight an enormous army of Midianites with 300 men. Lovely. This is God of all Creation, right? The Beginning and the End, right? What about ripping a hole in the time-space continuum, send me back through time and let me ride a Tyrannosaurus Rex whilst screaming like a wild Israelite barbarian. Maybe throw in a wild barbarian babe (who would of course be my wife) to ogle my huge muscles as I rip through the Cretaceous rain forest on my crazy man-eating T-Rex. Then maybe let that dinosaur come back with me (the girl has to stay, because I'm already married on this side of the time warp) and I'll ride that reptilian beast all over some stinkin' Midianites. I bet they don't got no dinosaur! Now, THAT would convince me to fight an army with 300 men. Well, at least it would have been more interesting. But fleece it is.
So, the story goes that God whittles Gideon's army from about 30,000 to a lean 300. And off they go. With trumpets and lanterns. And of course they defeat the Midianites. I say "of course" because it was not Gideon and his men that did it. It was God. It was God's fight. God's war. It was God that defeated the army. To be quite honest, God really didn't need Gideon or his 300 men. But you already knew that. And it's the same way with us.
When we ask God to help us accomplish His will, I wonder if he snickers or gets offended or maybe He is so surprised He spews His water all over heaven. Maybe what we should be asking is for Him to include us in accomplishing His will. You know He wants to. He loves us. He loved Gideon. He wants to include little us in His huge plans. His adventures. His accomplishments. His battles. And we get to be part of something much larger than ourselves, something greater then we could ever "ask or imagine", as the verse says. (I could definitely imagine riding a T-Rex).
So instead of deluding ourselves into thinking that we are so important to the kingdom of God and that the work we do is so high and mighty and holy, let's humble ourselves before our King. And remember that, in the words of the song by John Mark McMillan (and covered by the David Crowder band), “[God] loves like a hurricane and I am the tree. Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy." Let's never forget how small we really are in His amazing Presence. And be honored that He actually desires us to help Him.
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