Yesterday , we took a look at overcoming fear in the pursuit of responding to God’s call. We used Gideon and his army as an example. The story doesn’t stop there, however, and so now we turn our attention to trust and gratitude.
The Lord put the Israelites to the test. Gideon was asked to lead the army to the water and then follow the instructions of the Lord. As would be expected, the men immediately began to quench their thirst. Some lapped the water like dogs and others stooped to cup it with their hands. Only 300 lapped it up like dogs, and these the Lord called into battle. What did the Lord see in these men that enabled them to respond? Lapping water like a dog sounds rather ridiculous.
Those who lapped the water were not only grateful for the gift of the Lord, but they received it without fear. Their eyes and minds were not distracted, averted to look out for enemies or oncoming dangers. They simply drank of the stream. They trusted in the Lord and had no fear. They relished his gifts, and made good use of them immediately. The others however, cautiously brought the water to their lips, so that they could continue to keep their eyes on the horizon, attentive more to their own welfare than the gifts of God. They were told that God would protect them, but this promise was not enough for them. They needed their own eyes to be secure!
It is a danger in every vocation to become so busy with external affairs, often out of our control, that we forget to relish the gift of God before our eyes. In seeking a vocation we may be preoccupied with the “what ifs” and the “what next” that we can’t relish the gift of the call that is presented. We forget to satisfy our deepest thirst with those gifts immediately around us, and instead misuse or underappreciate these. All because our trust is only partially in the Lord and so our thirst is only partially quenched.
This wavering and uncertainty prevents us from living our vocation 100%. If we are to enter into our vocations, we are called to do so wholeheartedly, without fear of the future and uncertainty about the dangers of ahead – real or imagined. Instead we should embrace the gift, enjoy the consolations the Lord is giving and the peace that comes with doing his will. The Lord will protect and guide us.
There is one last thought on the story of Gideon that comes to mind when reflecting on vocations, and that is trust and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. This thought really wraps everything together in the simple awareness that God is in control and all things are possible in him... (to be continued)