Vessels of Hope: The God that Writes Us into His Story
Last week, I spent alot of time reading about Gideon in the book of Judges. Gideon lived during a time when Israel was (again) doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. The Israelites were being severely oppressed by the Midianites. Each harvest time, the Midianites would come through ravaging all of the Israelites crops, stealing away the people's sustenance and livelihood. In the midst of this oppression, Israel cries out to the Lord.
The Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon while he is threshing wheat in secret. He tells him, "The Lord is with you mighty warrior." Gideon asks a valid question. "If the Lord is with us, why has all of this happened to us?" The answer given is enough to give me goosebumps. The Angel of the Lord tells Gideon, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" It's that last part that gets to me...am I not sending you?
We have moments in our life where the storm seems to rage all around us. We go through periods of overwhelming confusion and hardship. We go through seasons of hopelessness that leave us feeling defeated and broken. Gideon was no stranger to oppression and trials. But this passage makes one thing clear, God doesn't merely give us hope, He births hope through us. God not only wants to give you hope in the midst of your circumstances, He wants to use you in the midst of your storm to be the vessel through which He brings His hope, love and joy to others! God desires to use you as His chosen vessel through which His message of transformation and restoration will be shared and embodied. His desire is to use your life as a catalyst that will inspire many other hearts to turn to Him!
God loves us so much that His desire is to write us into His story line. He loves sharing in the adventure with us. He loves using His sons and daughters to play an active role in bringing about redemption in broken hearts and lives. In this way, your pain takes on new meaning. Your brokenness has purpose. We are told in Romans 5:2-5 that it is our suffering that produces endurance, our endurance that produces character, and our character that produces hope. That hope will never put us to shame because even in the midst of our circumstances God's love has already been poured into our hearts. In this way, God takes even our suffering and our pain and uses it not only for our good, but also for the good of those around us.
You might be thinking that you are not up for the challenge. You may be thinking that you are unqualified and unequipped to be the one to bring hope to your family, your workplace, your friends or your community. You are in good company. Gideon thought the same thing. He replied, "How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Judges 6:15). The Lord assures Gideon that He will be with him and that with God at his side, he will strike down all the Midianites (Judges 6:16). And that is exactly, what happens.
With God on your side, nothing is impossible. In our weakness, He is strong (2 Cor. 12:9). We have been commissioned. We have been called.
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority on heaven and on earth. 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." (Matt. 28:18-20