Have you ever been surprised to discover that a situation was very different when you saw it from a different perspective? I heard a story of two mothers talking about their children one day. As they talked, one mom said to her friend, "My life has been transformed." "What happened?" "I took your advice and bought a play pen." "That transformed your life?" "Yes, I get in and the kids leave me alone for at least an hour."
Years ago, I read and kept a list of actual hilarious statements that people wrote on traffic accident reports. The way they saw and described their situation did not come out the way they thought. Here are some of my favorites from the list:
"The guy was all over the place. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."
"The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end."
"The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran him over."
Finally, "I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment."
In the Book of Judges, there is an account of a man named Gideon who had his life forever changed when he was given God's perspective. I would encourage you to read Judges, chapters 6 and 7. In Judges 6, a people called the Midianites made life miserable for the people of God. In verse 6, the Bible indicates that Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. Gideon, an ordinary farmer, was threshing wheat in a winepress in order to keep his meager harvest away from the Midianites when an angel appeared and greeted Gideon by saying, "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor" (v. 12).
GOD SAW GIDEON'S POTENTIAL — NOT HIS LIMITATIONS
Gideon's response was to question the angel's statement. Gideon asked, "Please sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us?" (v. 13). From Gideon's perspective, because of the oppression of their enemies and their lack of resources, God must have abandoned them. The truth was that God was aware, and He was about to bring deliverance. The Lord then turned to Gideon and said, "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" (v.14).
When Gideon heard himself being called a mighty warrior and heard his assignment, he could not see what God saw. Gideon replied, who, me? I'm a nobody, my family is small and I have no influence! God, however, saw Gideon's potential — not his limitations. That is an amazing truth. God always sees our potential and what He can do through us. God is looking for Gideons today — men and women of faith who will take God at His word, step out in faith, and do great things for God. God uses ordinary people to do extra ordinary things.
After God gave Gideon the vision of delivering Israel, He told him to start by righting a wrong in his own family. Gideon was to tear down an altar to Baal set up by his father and build a proper altar to the Lord. Our house must be put in order before we can have any credibility in sharing with others what needs to be done in their lives. If there is known sin that we do not deal with, then there will be no power or standing to speak out against other sin. Just as Jesus stated in Matthew 7, we must remove the log from our eye before we look at the faults of others.
Gideon obeyed, and, despite opposition, the Lord gave him favor and protected him from harm. Not only did Gideon's act of obedience increase his own faith, but also it inspired others. People heard what Gideon had done, and that encouraged them to believe that hope was not lost. When Gideon called people to stand up and prepare to fight against seemingly impossible odds, 32,000 men rallied together.
For years it was believed that no one could run a mile in less than four minutes. The ancient Greeks tried to get men to run faster by having wild animals chase them. Unfortunately, nothing worked, so they decided that it was physically impossible. They said our bone structure was wrong, the wind resistance too great, and our lung capacity inadequate. Then one day a human proved that the doctors, trainers, and other athletes themselves were wrong. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile threshold. After Bannister did what was said to have been impossible, hundreds of other runners then believed that they too could break the record. Today, the Olympic qualifying time simply to compete in the event is 3 minutes 39 seconds.
As we step out in faith, others will be encouraged to take steps of faith as well. This is why it is so important to share our stories of faith.
WHEN GOD IS AT WORK, NUMBERS ARE MEANINGLESS
After Gideon had amassed an army, God surprised him by saying that he had too many men. From an army of 32,000, God whittled the army down to just 300 men. In this way, only God could receive the glory for the victory and deliverance. We often think that our strength is in numbers. The truth is that when God is at work, numbers are meaningless. A small number with God is huge! God loves to work through the few. Through the faithfulness and readiness of just 300, God delivered His people from an enemy too numerous to count.
The battle in which your pregnancy center ministry is engaged is not dependent upon the size of your center, the amount of resources you have, or the number of people rallied to your side. Our success and strength come from the Lord. He can use the weak to confound the mighty. He can use little to bring about miraculous results. He can take doubt and turn it into great faith. As Paul stated in Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" The battles we face truly do belong to the Lord.
Again, God is looking for Gideons today. In order to become the mighty warriors the Lord wants us to be, we must first be willing to believe God at His Word. Then we must leave the winepress. We cannot do battle in safety, but we have to come out into the open and take our stand for the Lord. When we do, others then can be encouraged to rally together as we courageously pursue God's will. Many people will not get involved until they see someone courageously step out in faith first. The good news is that as we trust God for the victory, miracles happen, and we have a testimony to share. The task may appear overwhelming and the odds against us, but God can route the enemy before us. With simply the blast of trumpets and a shout of victory, the enemy fled before Gideon. As we trust in the Lord for deliverance, supply, or a victory only God can provide, remember that nothing is too hard for God.
Pastor Mark Hiehle served as a Center Director for over 15 years. He now pastors the First Church of the Nazarene in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He continues to help centers grow through tools found at www.highcalling.com.