Last week I wrote an article based on interview with Cindy Winters. She’s the widow of Fred Winters, a Baptist pastor who died on March 8, 2009, when a stranger entered his church, sauntered down the church aisle, and opened fire on him as he preached.
Cindy told me that she used to be a very fearful person. She said that when she identified and confessed fear as an area of bondage in her life, God began teaching her how to move beyond it through experiences that were far beyond her comfort zone, such as short-term mission trips. She admitted that she didn’t embrace these lesson-learning experiences with joy, but she chose to do them despite her fear because she knew God was asking her to obey. She used a phrase that has stuck with me like Velcro: “Do it afraid.”
Gideon did it afraid, too. He was simply going about his routine tasks when God showed up one day and gave him a special assignment: “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 1:1-40).
How did Gideon respond? He completely overlooked the Israelites’ need for rescue and saw only the obstacles. He argued with God: “But Lord….” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family.” The fear of inadequacy loomed large, but he had other struggles besides:
- The fear of the enemies that ravaged his country (v. 11).
- The fear of encountering the angel of God face to face (v. 22, 23).
- The fear of opposing his family and townspeople by destroying Baal’s altar and the Asherah pole (v. 27).
Yes, he was a fearful guy, but thankfully he didn’t allow his fears to stop him from obeying God’s call. As a result of “doing it afraid,” he experienced God in an intimate way. Verse 24 says it like this: “And Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means ‘The LORD is peace’).” In the midst of his fears, he knew God’s peace. This discovery would never have happened if he’d said no.
What swayed Gideon to “do it afraid?” Personally, I think he believed God’s promise spoken twice within a few moments.
- “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you” (v. 12).
- “The LORD said to him, ‘I will be with you’” (v. 16).
To every believer, God has assigned the task of rescuing the lost from the enemy’s clutches. He tells us to go, to be actively involved in this mission, and then He gives us the same promise He gave to Gideon: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20).
The choice is ours. Say no, or say yes. Our answer reveals what we believe to be true about God – saying no means that His presence and power are insufficient for the task. Saying yes reveals the opposite and results in knowing God’s peace.
What is God asking of you today? Please don’t let the enemy win. Please – do it afraid.