“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’
‘Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.’
The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’
‘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
The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.’” Judges 6: 12-16
God has put within us gifts and callings that we cannot see ourselves because we are not yet aware of them, or we have discounted them due to failures and negative feedback from others.
We need eyes to see and ears to hear when God shows us a vision of our purpose and speaks to us of our value as He did to Gideon. He called him “mighty warrior” when Gideon was hiding in the winepress doing the best he could to keep food for his family protected from oppressors.
In his mercy, God often gives us other people who “see” us better than we see ourselves. In The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien weaves this theme into his story when Gandalf draws out the inner gifts and life purpose of Bilbo the Hobbit. All his life. Bilbo has seen himself as a simple hobbit in the Shire, living a safe and complacent life. All of a sudden, Gandalf shows up and thrusts him into an adventure where Bilbo is needed for skills he didn’t know he possessed. Throughout the story, Bilbo saves the day.
On the other hand, we are like Gandalf and the angel of the Lord because we possess the discernment to both envision and call out the unique purposes of our friends and loved ones. My cousin, Jennefer did this for me recently when she encouraged me to blog. I had disqualified myself as a writer many years ago, wrongly interpreting the average grades on college creative writing papers to mean I wasn’t a writer.
I pray that God will speak to us, we will hear our calling, and in turn offer to others the inspiration they need.