There are so many new things I’ve been experiencing emotionally in the past several years. And not only that, I’ve noticed that I respond in a way that’s a little foreign to me. I wonder if you can relate. Take for example, fear. Fear has not been something I’ve dealt with most of my life. I’ve had other things to deal with, but generally not fear. Yet, I can see that this has been the thing I’ve had to combat most these past 3 plus years. It’s new. And my reaction to it surprises me. Again, because it’s new. And I don’t really know what to do with myself when I’m afraid.
What do you do when you’re afraid?
I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m afraid I hide. Like, literally, hide. I might avoid phone calls from friends. I might ignore or decline social invitations. I retreat into my own space and won’t let anyone in. Physically.
But emotionally, I hide, too. When I’m fearful, I tend to ruminate on all the “what ifs”. I’ll play, over and over again in my head, all the different scenarios that lead to the worst possible circumstances. And it’s almost like fear of one thing makes me fearful of everything. Including everything that’s “outside” of my control. Which is just about everything.
Sometimes I’ll even stop reading my Bible. But not because I don’t want to read it, but because my mind can’t concentrate on anything but the fear. I sabotage myself by pulling away from the very Source (and that’s with a capital S) that can actually help me. It’s like I temporarily forget who He is and what He can do. Like I have no evidence of His power in my life prior to this moment.
Is anyone out there that does the same thing?
The crazy thing is, I know that from the very beginning of this journey to healing, God has been leading me all the way. He’s done extraordinary, supernatural things for my personal provisions that were unmistakably straight from His good and gracious hand. He has parted the proverbial Red Sea in my life just when I thought my enemy was going to overtake me. I would even call what He’s done, many times over, to be a miracle. Absolute miracle!
So why would I hide in fear?
My friend, Gideon hid, too. Okay, so, Gideon lived a long time ago and he’s not aware that we’re even friends. But if he were alive today, we’d be besties. And that’s because Gideon was so real. He was afraid, so he hid. Just like me.
You have to know Gideon’s story, though. Gideon was a man just trying to get by, doing his job and putting food on his family’s table. This story is found in Judges 6, if you’re wondering. So, Gideon would harvest his crops, and then his task was to beat the wheat and toss the grain in the air in order to separate the chaff from the grain. But this process of separation meant that he needed the wind to help him accomplish the task. In the right circumstances, he’d throw the beaten grain in the air and the wind would blow away the light-weight husks and let the meaty grain fall to the ground. Yet, Gideon was inside a wine press, in a closed off area, trying to do his job! No wind there! How successful was he at his job without the wind’s help? But the work had to be done correctly nonetheless - chaff separated from the grain - so perhaps he beat harder, or used his hands to separate, to pick out the chaff.
Can you imagine the amount of work?! If he had just positioned himself rightly - outside! - the job would’ve been so much easier and more successful. What kept him from doing this? Fear. He was afraid of what was ‘outside’. He was hiding from the Midianites; afraid they would come and take his grain from him. The Midianites were there in the promised land oppressing the people of Israel. In the promised land mind you! The very land that God Himself led them to for their freedom.
Gideon has no courage. Man, I know what that feels like. How about you? He feels weak to push back on the Midianites; to claim the people of Israel’s rightful stance in the Land of Promise. Maybe because he’s relying on his own power, strength, and ability. He knows his limitations. He’s just a man. Maybe he projected his human limitations onto God, believing the Midianites too strong even for God to overtake, too. So, he hid from them.
Another reason why Gideon and I would be friends….Gideon of little faith. Fortunately for Gideon - and for me - God still gives the promise, “I will be with you.” Funny, Gideon thought he was hiding, but God saw exactly where he was. Hiding in plain sight. God asks Gideon to step out from his hiding in fear and go in strength to fight against the oppression. But he’s not going in his own strength, but in God’s. Gideon is not going to win the battle because of his own ability, but because of God’s ability. This new-found faith of Gideon's is going to change his life. Everything shifts.
I wonder, too, if this is where Gideon remembers what God did - all the miracle’s in Egypt - to set His people free. With that kind of evidence of God’s Sovereign power to move people and orchestrate circumstances, to make abundant provisions when things look hopeless, to open up a way when there seemed to be no way at all of surviving by parting the Red Sea. I wonder if this is where Gideon began to trust that God - HIS God - would do the same for him. That not only He could do these kinds of things for him, but that He would. I wonder if this is where Gideon found his faith.
I think this is where I found my faith to overcome the fear - in looking back and seeing all the ways God had been active and working in my life. There are so many stories. But one in particular was very impactful for me. It’s where I look back and know now that there, everything shifted.
It was when I was very pregnant with my third child. In fact, my due date was just 4 days away. It was a Friday and Brian had taken off work that day. He stayed home with our oldest child, and I took our daughter who was two at the time, out to run errands. After several hours, we came home and pulled into the garage. I drove a minivan and crawled in the back to get her out of her car seat. After getting her out successfully, she realized she didn’t have her baby doll with her so I crawled back in to grab her doll. As I back my way out, big fat and pregnant, I lost my balance and tumbled backwards out onto the garage floor. I fell on my left side onto the concrete and literally couldn’t move. I had a sharp pain in my elbow, wrist, and left ankle. My only hope was if my two year old daughter could go get her daddy. So I told her to go to the back door and bang on it real hard. She was so little. I was just sure Brian wouldn’t hear her. And He didn’t. A few minutes later she came back. And then I told her to crawl through the doggie door. It was just her size. Apparently, Brian was taking a nap with our son, and my petite, little darling, and oh-so-smart girl had to climb the stairs to wake him. Fast forward to the next evening and my water broke. I had been to the emergency room and they checked us both out, mom and baby, and we were fine. Just a few chipped bones in the elbow and ankle, and a sprained wrist. They put me on crutches and sent me home. But now that my water had broke, I was headed back to the hospital. When delivery began, it was like a miracle took place. I had absolutely no pain in my ankle, elbow, or wrist. None whatsoever, and I had not been given an epidural or any drugs at all. I had been so worried about my wrist especially during delivery knowing I’d need to grab onto something…or someone. But I had no pain at all. I really felt like God had washed over my body with healing in that moment. But here’s why this story is so significant for me. This was a time in my life when I wasn’t really walking closely with the Lord. I was doing things my way. Living my life with Him on the periphery. I was hiding from Him. And still, in His loving kindness and great compassion, He made His presence known. It was a miracle from start to finish. He loved me even though I wasn’t acting lovable. He loved me even when I was “Tricia of little faith”. And He came to my rescue.
Friend, is there something going on in your life that makes you feel weak or confused? Are you feeling oppressed by external circumstances that are outside of your control? Or maybe you’re just struggling and not up to the task that’s right in front of you. Maybe you feel like hiding. I want to encourage you today…walk forward with faith because God Himself sees you, right where you are, hiding in plain sight, and He is with you. Right there. The very One who split the Red Sea to save those He loved. The very One who is in the rescuing business, rescuing even those who don’t know they need Him. In the beauty of His Sovereignty and in the power of His strength, He can move people and orchestrate things for whatever it may be that you need.
Can you look back at a time before when you know the Lord has come to your rescue? Have you seen His work, His power, His intervention in your life? Parting your Red Sea? Can you find evidence of Him working on your behalf in your past? It’s time to quit hiding and to come in faith, believing that the One that loves you so deeply wants to make His presence known in your life. It’s time to quit relying on your own abilities, trying to work so hard to make things go the way you think they should. It’s time, instead, to position yourself underneath the mighty hand of the Father, and watch Him work for you, again, come to your rescue, and overcome your enemy. And you, my friend, are not going to win the battle (whether that be fear, or worry, a physical situation, or even sin - whatever makes you want to hide) you’re not going to win the battle because of your own ability, but because of God’s ability, His power. And this new-found faith is going to change your life. Now is when everything shifts - as God is drawing you out from hiding.