Do you remember the Bible story about Gideon? Here's the link if you want to zip over and have a quick read, otherwise I'll give you a little rundown. When we first meet Gideon, the Israelites are in trouble and this "mighty warrior" is hiding in the winepress threshing wheat. Hmm...looks like Gideon was lacking in the confidence department. While all the people are hiding in the hills, trying to stay out of the way of the Midianites, God hears their prayers and sends a prophet to assure the people that He is taking action. And that He intends to use Gideon to do the job. (Not quite what Gideon had in mind.)
Over the course of several days, God convinces Gideon that He indeed intends to answer the prayers of the people and restore their homes to them. Gideon (also apparently lacking in faith) requires a series of "proofs" from God; little tests to make sure that he hears God clearly. God consistently directs Gideon and patiently endures his many questions and requests for proof, resulting in Gideon eventually taking God at His word.
Finally, Gideon rallies an army to fight off the Midianites; as a true mighty warrior he prepares to lead his troops into battle. But now it's God's turn to make requests of him. While Gideon stands proudly amidst his thousands of soldiers, God says quite simply, "There are too many of you. If you win this battle, you will say that it's because of your strength." In a matter of moments, God whittles down Gideon's great battalion to a mere three hundred men. Gulp. (Again, not quite what Gideon had in mind.)
And God's not done yet.
"You will send each man with a trumpet and a torch covered with a clay pot. This is how you will drive out your enemy."
Can you hear the crickets chirping in the silence that followed that series of instructions? (Most certainly not quite what Gideon had in mind.) A trumpet and a torch against the swarming army down in the valley, equipped with all manner of weapons? I'm quite certain that Gideon felt a bit squeamish and perhaps even a bit like he would much rather head back to his winepress and hide some more.
In the end, God's way works. In the middle of the night, the small army surrounds the multitude of soldiers and when they blow their trumpets, shout and break the pots, the sudden noise and lights throw the enemy into confusion and they annihilate themselves. (Not the battle Gideon had in mind.)
The Israelites are stunned and then they erupt in songs of rejoicing and celebration, praising God for the victory. The victory that could only be traced back to God. God had heard their prayers for help and then provided the help that reminded His children of His sovereignty and power. And His love.
I've been identifying a lot with Gideon lately in the midst of our battle to sell our house. While the Bible contains no details about the who and when of the buyers of our house, (trust me, I've been searching!) I do know that my God is faithful and true and He will not abandon us. We know deep in our hearts that this move to Denver is God's plan for us, even if the process has been longer that we had anticipated. (Not quite what we had in mind.)
Being planners, Brett and I had mapped out much of the summer and it included us settling in over in Denver and finding our feet before school starts. We have watched the days slip by and now as we see the middle of summer behind us and the start of school looming in the nearer future, we cock our heads and scrunch our brows, puzzling at this place where God has us. Treading water and waiting and wondering. (Certainly not what we had in mind.)
But I know --- God is orchestrating the many details of our move and when the time is right, He will set in motion His plan and we will stand back as the pieces fall into place and say, "Wow. Only God could have done this. And only He gets the praise."
I would love to write this from the other side of the victory and have the whole story, but Gideon didn't have that luxury and he was still willing to stand with his trumpet and his glowing torch stuffed in a clay pot, trusting God. Following in his footsteps, I will wait for God to work out His plan in His way and in His timing -- with a kazoo in one and and a sparkler in the other -- and then we will celebrate, unable to keep our praise contained!
(That's what I have in mind.)