When the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and reassures him that the Lord is with him, Gideon has a few questions and complaints. And while I would love to delve into each of them in great detail, I want to focus mainly on his question: and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of?
In other words, "I've heard all about miracles, but I haven't seen one yet. Why not? If you could do them for my ancestors, why won't you do them for me?"
In Gideon's defense, I can relate to a degree. But first off, I think it is important that we not overlook the miracles that occur every day in our lives. When we think of miracles, our minds envision Red Sea crossings and feeding thousands with a meager lunch, but not all miracles are as "flashy" as that. Nevertheless, they are miracles just the same. Life is a miracle. The fact that we can function all day long without having to remind ourselves to breathe or pump blood or move our limbs attests to the fact that we experience miraculous intervention every single day. But we don't think about that as a miracle. It's just part of life, right?
So when those around us are receiving "flashy" miracles, we feel slighted. Like when the neighbor builds his dream house, and you are forced to watch from your home with the leaky roof, broken furnace and cracked windows. Or when that friend gets the job you were perfect for. Or how about when that colleague finds her stride and quickly goes from a nobody to the most sought after worker in her field? The list could go on. A church member receives a generous financial gift. A family member goes on the vacation of a lifetime. A fellow author sells over 1,000 books in a single hour (or maybe this one is just me). Anyway, you get the point. You sit in your average home with your average job, never able to take time off or enjoy a vacation, and meanwhile, everyone around you seems to be catching a break or receiving a miracle. And while a part of you is happy for them, another part is grumbling, much like Gideon, "Hey, where's my miracle?"
You know what's sorrowful though? Not the fact that we covet a miracle, but rather that when the miracle finally arrives, we can't believe it. We're shocked! We can't seem to process what just happened.
Unfortunately, I experienced this last Friday. We had a critical meeting to resolve a problem that has been looming over us for years now. I was nervous. I was worried. I was fearful of getting my hopes up even though we had been assured earlier in the week that there was a chance of "escape." When the time arrived, I couldn't decide how to feel, but one thing I was certain of is that if things went well, I would feel fabulous. I would be relieved. I would be praising God. I wouldn't be able to contain my smile. Yet, when the verdict was reached and delivered, and we found out that things were going to turn out FAR better than we had even imagined possible, I sat in stunned silence. To this day, I'm still struggling to accept that we received a huge miracle from God. It just doesn't seem possible. My mind is going, "Did this really happen? Could it happen? Is this just a trick that's going to come back to bite me later? Is it okay to get my hopes up now?"
It's crazy. I complain about not getting a miracle. I pray for a miracle. Then, when one arrives, I'm shocked into silence. Hmm, maybe that's why I don't see too many "flashy" miracles in my own life. Because I don't appreciate them when they come, and I'm not trusting that God will come through for me.
Two things I can learn from Gideon are these: (1) I'm not the only one who takes miracles for granted, and (2) God can still use those who are short-sighted and forgetful. Even though Gideon doubted God to the point that he accused Him of forsaking them, God used Gideon to accomplish great things.
May I remind you that miracles are all around us? Big. Small. Flashy. Reserved. But powerful, no matter what else they may be. Let's not take that for granted. Instead, let us be grateful for all the miracles that happen in our lives and the lives of others. And for Pete's sake (whoever Pete is), if we ask God for something, let us not be surprised when He gives it to us!