“Now the angel of the Lord came… while Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’”   Judges 6:11-12

Gideon, a “mighty man of valor,” hid in a winepress to avoid the Midianites.  He knew that the Lord was with the people of Israel, but questioned God’s plan for them to defeat the Midianites after years of oppression.

God told Gideon to “Go.”

Gideon responded, “But…”

God reassured Gideon, “This is my plan.”

Gideon said “Prove it…”

Not that the whole talking to an angel thing isn’t proof enough, I suppose… but God gave Gideon proof:

“‘Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.’ And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes…”   Judges 6:20-21

That sounds so familiar.  God calls me to write and in response I question Him; Is this really Your plan or my own pipe dream? God assures me, but I want a sign.  Echoing Gideon I pray; “Show me that it’s You, Lord.”

… And Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear…’”   Judges 6:22-23

And like Gideon, God reassured me and gave me peace, so I responded in faith trusting that this was His plan and signed up for the She Speaks writer’s conference.

However once I registered, I realized there was a very short window of time available to raise nearly $1000 to attend this conference; an exorbitant amount of money.

And like Gideon, I began to doubt.

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.’ And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.”   Judges 6:36-38

God provided 70% of the funds needed in a very short amount of time, but echoing Gideon again, although I could clearly see God providing and reassuring, I wanted another sign.

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.’ And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.”   Judges 6:39-40

Like Gideon, I was much more certain of the calling God had given me, but a balance of $278 lingered for weeks and the due date quickly approached.

“…the Lord said to him, ‘Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. But if you are afraid, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.’”   Judges 7:9-11a

Like Gideon, God sent friends and even strangers to validate His plan for me; verifying the gift He gave me to write, offering thankful praise of God touching their lives through my writing, and reassuring me that He would provide.

One friend continually told me, “God loves the 11th hour.”  Although I knew she was trying to reassure me, I didn’t want to hear that.  I wanted God to provide NOW so I didn’t have to worry, and in those last few days leading up to the due date, I continually focused on that $278 and questioned how God would provide.

In true God form, as He provided in Gideon’s “11th hour,” He answered that ridiculous question in mine.

The very morning the final $278 was due; I woke and prayed for God to miraculously provide, thinking perhaps God wanted me to give the remaining balance myself.  I was absolutely happy to but wasn’t sure how that would happen because we didn’t have it and wouldn’t at least until my final paycheck on Friday, still 3 days away.

A couple hours later a friend came over to visit, and although she had come to look at some items I was trying to sell, I knew if she bought them it would only be a small portion to put toward my $278.  We had a wonderful visit, she and her husband stayed much of the afternoon and we shared wonderful conversation and laughs.

As my friend got ready to leave and her husband was writing out a check for $70 for the items she purchased, she asked for a drink of water, which apparently was a decoy, and when I left the room she and her husband answered God’s call to give toward my scholarship fund.  When I returned and handed her the bottle of water, she said:

“I’m going to pay you $100 for this bottle of water,” and handed me a check in the amount of $170.

I was in shock, awe, and tears at the incredible selfless generosity this couple showed me, and at God’s provision.

But God was far from finished.  Shortly after they left, I spoke to another friend on the phone who told me she had planned to give money toward my fund but had forgotten, and would give me $100 the following day.  And, at that exact moment I received an email from another friend who said she also wanted to contribute.

”As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”   Judges 7:15

Now tell me, how many times does God have to prove His faithfulness to me?  How many times do I have to read stories from His Word to remind me of His love and provision?  How many times do I have to see Him work in the little things?

What about you?

“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”   Matthew 8:26a

Apparently, just one more…

Oh Lord, please forgive me for my doubt.  I praise you for your forgiveness, understanding, patience, and provision, and am in awe and thank you so much for how you work.

I serve an absolutely amazing God.

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