“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Gideon became confident when he saw God’s power. But when God told him to decrease the number of men for battle, he became fearful. So he asked God for confirmation to keep His promise to save Israel. If I was in Gideon’s shoes, I would have done the same. I have asked God for signs and confirmations for certain doors I’ve been afraid to step into.
There was once a woman who told me that God has something big planned for me, but something is holding me back. She was right. I have many moments of being a wimp and I still am when given certain tasks. I picture myself as a child who’s being dragged by a parent because either I don’t want to go or I am afraid. I am no warrior. But I do know that God sees His children as warriors. I want to consider myself as a warrior. I look up to warriors in books, movies, and in real life. But we all know that in reality, even warriors fall sometimes.
I will always be amazed at how much God has confidence in us. He knows His truth give us the strength to make us turn from wimps to warriors. He knows we have weaknesses and yet, He sees us as so much more than conquerors.
“Those who know your name trust you, O Lord, because you have never deserted those who seek your help.”
When I decided to finally accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I had to learn more about who He truly is. While living at the orphanage, one of the American staff once told the story of George Muller to us. As she was sharing, I was in awe that I had goosebumps. Since then, his story became my inspiration and reminder that God is truly a provider. It was not only because the Holy Bible said so, but I have also experienced it for myself. It doesn’t stop there. I have yet to learn the many names He possesses.
At times, I forget He is Emmanuel. There have been many instances I disregard the fact that He is with me whenever I feel alone because I cannot physically see Him. Just as I have never felt my birth parents’ closeness. Sometimes the hardest part of being a Christian for me is not physically seeing my Heavenly Father. At times, I miss Him. How can you miss someone you haven’t physically seen? But I do…just knowing He created me and known me my whole life. I have wished I could see God in person and truly cry in His arms. I know I can feel Him, but sometimes I look around hoping for His physical presence. But that’s the point of having faith; “having assurance about what we do not see”. As long as I know He is there and will never forsake me, that’s enough for me.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
The past is the hardest to forget especially if it was traumatic. I try not to dwell in it, but it is so difficult not to when you’ve only known pain. Certain doubts are triggered by certain memories. I don’t know how and why negative feelings can lead to my childhood memories when I clearly know they have no connection. Though I know fears and doubts only have one goal, I still let myself drown in them. I am an expert at self-pity, but I also know when I am doing it. I allow myself to get into this position then I wipe myself off and rise up.
I know if I let myself stay in it for too long, I will destroy myself. The past can damage my true identity if I let it. The past can blind me from the truth of who I truly am in the eyes of God— if I let it. The failed past relationships I’ve had do not dictate my worth. God can use these doubts to overcome my battles. Just as God used Gideon’s doubts to save Israel:
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
He will walk with me in my darkest past and come out victorious. I only have to listen to God and who I am to Him. God didn’t create me only to watch me destroy myself. He knows I am weak, but He also knows He is my strength.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Fifteen years ago, I was placed in an orphanage in the Philippines. It was there that I was introduced to the true identity of Jesus Christ. Growing up Catholic, of course, I knew who He was. But not the way I do now. When the staff started telling me who He is and what He has done since the beginning of time, I started to ask questions. As an 11 year old, I wondered why He says He loves us and yet, I was living in poverty and now an orphan. If He really loves us, why did I have to go through what I went through?
I know how it feels to be in Gideon’s shoes. Sometimes I still ask God why I went through so much hardships in life. God may not directly answer the ‘why’s,’ but He always shows me. He shows me His power. He shows me He has never forsaken me. I try to recall the moments when He interjected at the right time. Then I remind myself the importance of faith; it means knowing God’s help will come.
I have always been curious so I don’t think I’ll stop asking God questions. Renee Swope reminded me that it is never wrong to ask God as long as it doesn’t create distance between us. It might not always mean asking for answers, but for wisdom and understanding. I have never allowed it to question my belief. I remember my high school teacher once said that if you don’t start asking about your own faith then you are not growing. Since then, I have asked myself where I am spiritually to progress and focus on God more.
I understand life is full of ups and downs. I may not always be able to understand the ways of God, but I do know He will always be by my side. At times, it may be hard to lean on Him when life is hard, but I try to remember His promises to those who love and trust Him.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9
Renee Swope illustrated a perfect example of a shadow of doubt. The shadow of doubt that I create myself because I face the wrong direction. I have choices to make and sometimes, I choose the shadow because I fear its size. Swope stated that shadows are made when the light has been blocked. This light is God’s truth. If I turn towards the light, I would only see God’s truth. But it is not so easy to do.
When I am overwhelmed, it is so easy to turn towards the shadow of my doubts. The fear that I am not good enough. My insecurities of my physical features and financial situation. The mistakes I’ve made. Who I was before I was adopted. It’s difficult to turn towards God’s truth because when I am covered in lies, I shackle myself with them too. I stare and stare into the shadow creating a pool of my tears hoping I can drown in them too. In my mind, I would believe the whispers that disappearance is the only solution. I would believe the lies that others would love to see me defeated. It is then I turn to the light and remember that God did not die on the cross for me so I can surrender to the darkness. He died for me because He loves me. He died for me because He sees value in me. He died for me because I am His.
I can choose to face the shadows to tell me how unworthy I am. I can face the shadow to cover me with doubts. Or I can choose to face the light with the shadow behind me. I can face the light and be covered in truth. The truth that I am His special possession. The only valid truth I need to believe and remember.