(For enhanced reading pleasure this post should be read in conjunction with Judges 6-7).
I have been walking backward for so long now that most days I hardly notice. Sometimes, I feel almost normal. But then a day happens like one recently and I am brought back to reality; one where nothing looks like what it is and not a single thing that God is asking me to do makes sense. And I am prompted to exclaim out loud, “You are a craZy God!”
So, how does God respond when you call him crazy (with a capital “Z” and an exclamation point for emphasis)? If you are me … which I am … then He simply laughs and says, “Pitchers and torches.”
Let me explain.
I can’t think of a bible character I resemble more than Gideon. I am big, bumbling mess of a human being trying to eke out my existence without being noticed by those bent on my utter annihilation. (Hang around long enough and you’ll realize that I am prone to hyperbole. I could just say that I, like Gideon, am the “least of my clan” and am “threshing wheat in a winepress” to avoid detection by the “Midianites” and leave you make draw your own analogy … but where is the fun it that?)
Seriously, I relate to Gideon on so many levels. First, I am mess. How big of a mess am I? Well, let’s just say that I am so very glad that God’s mercies are new every morning. (Although some days I barely make it to breakfast before I’m borrowing against the mercies of tomorrow). The most obvious sign of the backwardness of God’s Kingdom is that he chose me to accomplish anything in it. While I cannot and will not deny the gifts and abilities that God has given me, equally undeniable is the debacle that has ensued on the many occasions I sought to use these gifts in my own effort and for my own purpose.
Second, I doubt. Oh, how I doubt. When you see the rather unglorious mess that you are and yet hear God saying, “God is with you mighty warrior … go in the strength that you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand,” it is hard not to doubt. So much of what God asks of us is truly counter-intuitive, illogical, and – if we are completely honest — more than a little “crazy.” Heaven has received more than one petition from me asking for a “fleece” or confirmation that I heard God correctly. He couldn’t possibly have just asked me to do what I think he did … could he?!?
Finally, I have lost count of the number of times I have found myself staring down an army of angry men with nothing more to fight them than fire on a stick and an empty jar. Often, walking backward isn’t just about what God is asking, but how he is asking you to do it. He didn’t just call Gideon to save Israel from the oppressive hand of the Midianites, He asked him to do it with only 300 men carrying trumpets and torches inside of pitchers. This is the kind of backward that leaves you wondering whether what you are about to do is an exhibition of great faith or merely evidence of your insanity.
But with glory possible to no one but Himself, God delivers. Again. And again. And again!
So when I call God crazy for asking me to do yet another thing that makes absolutely no sense and He responds with “Pitchers and torches,” this is simply His way of saying, “That’s how I roll!”