I’ve gained this reputation in a lot of my social circles for being “real”. Perhaps it comes from the season of my life where my most common sermon commentary was, “That’s real.” Or perhaps it comes from the fact that I’ve been very vocal about topics that were historically taboo like mental health in the church. Or maybe it’s because I’m the wet blanket in youth planning meetings who is asking what I like to call, “The Real Questions.” Like sure, giving students sparklers during a youth baptism night SOUNDS like a good idea and would look really cool in pictures, but have you ever met a middle schooler? It’s for this reason that I love characters like Thomas and Gideon; they ask the real questions.

Gideon doesn’t have quite the negative reputation that “Doubting Thomas” does (justice for Thomas – clear his name!), but he is known for asking God for a sign not once, but twice and even some clarifying questions a few times before that. Some may see this as doubt, but I see this as authentic. He’s exercising that kind of real-life faith that we all have experienced in one season or another. The kind that has questions for God because life isn’t quite so neat right now.

An angel shows up while Gideon is hiding because of Israel’s enemy; the enemy had become so powerful that Gideon had to hide to thresh wheat just so they wouldn’t steal it. And this angel has the nerve to say, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (Judges 6:12). This man is hiding in a winepress by himself threshing wheat, and the angel has the nerve to not only call him a “Mighty hero” but also to remind him that the Lord is with him.

You ever had the truth of God directly contradict what you see right in front of you? I imagine that’s exactly what Gideon was thinking. I imagine him looking behind him on the left and then to the right and then back at the angel with a dumbfounded look on his face before saying,

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” (Judges 6:13)

Like, yes, Gideon! Thank you! These are the real questions.

You ever had the truth of God directly contradict what you see right in front of you?

If God is with me, then why is my family falling apart? If God is with me, then why am I drowning in debt barely able to provide for my family? If God is with me, then why have I been praying about the same thing for 10 years with little to no breakthrough? If God is with me, then why can’t I stop feeling so anxious? 

Where are these miracles the Bible talks about? Where are these miracles that I’ve heard my fellow believers speak about? 

These are the real questions we all have and honestly, I feel like God expects them from us because as humans we have such a limited understanding, but it doesn’t mean he gives us the full game plan as an answer either. 

What the angel said next was so crucial to me, and it reminded me a lot of the grace we are met with when we ask God these kinds of questions. He said, “Go with the strength you have.” That was his answer to Gideon’s questions. No reason why, no specific directions, just, “Go with the strength you have.” And I love that he didn’t say, “Go with great strength,” he just said, “with the strength you have.” Because I imagine for Gideon after constant, day after day defeat from the Midianites, he was exhausted, and you are too, aren’t you? After trudging along in the same struggle day after day, you probably don’t have much strength. That’s ok, neither do I, but you don’t have to have a lot. Keep going and go with the strength you do have. God is really good at filling in our gaps especially where strength is concerned. It’s like He’s got an unlimited supply of it or something.

By Megan French

Megan French is the Central Middle School Director for Love Church. Her other day job is teaching 8th grade English at Ronald Reagan Middle School. She is passionate about reading, writing, and boy bands.

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