I was in the second-grade when I sang in public for the first time. My school hosted a Black History program, and while the details escape me as to how it all came to be, it was a life-altering experience. On a briskly cold winter day in February of 2000 my mom walked me from the car to the double-doors of Daniel Webster Elementary. I remember feeling my stomach rumble and a huge lump sitting at the base of my throat. I recollect thinking in the moment, “how and why did I sign up for this? I’ve never sung in front of a crowd. Do I even sing well?” I sat in the assembly hall waiting anxiously. Every poem, skit and performance a blur until I heard a voice announce: “Now we’ll have a song by Sabrina Bellamy.” That lump at the base of my throat sunk way down deep to the pit of my stomach as I stood up and walked to the stage, climbed the stairs, and took the microphone. With one deep breath I opened my mouth and began to sing.
A few weeks ago I was working through a devotional and came across the story of Gideon. If you have never heard of Gideon I’ll make a long story short. God chose Gideon to lead a fight against the Midianite army. The Israelites had been disobedient to God resulting in the Midianites invading their land. The Midianite army was described as one that was as “thick as locusts,” or in other words too many to count. God decides that the Israelites had suffered long enough and calls Gideon to gather an army. Gideon began the journey to battle with 32,000 soldiers, but as he heard from God about battle strategy, God pruned the already outnumbered band from 32,000 to a mere 300 men. Outnumbered and all, Gideon and his 300 came out as victors. Incredible, right? It gets better, more so toward the beginning than the end. Lets take a look.
Judges 6:11 says:
“The angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son GIDEON was beating wheat in the winepress [instead of the threshing floor] to hide it from the Midianites.”
Verse 12 continues :
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [FEARLESS] courage.”
I recount reading this scripture and saying to God “Wow! Gideon was so courageous. God, I’m not like Gideon. I don’t have the kind of courage that’s fearless. I’m scared sometimes, I second-guess myself, when you tell me to do things I’m super uncomfortable.”
What made Gideon one who could be considered a man of FEARLESS courage? I think we find the answer to that in verse 11. You see, the Midianites were brutal invaders. They came at harvest time and ravaged the Israelites crops leaving God’s people with little to no food for themselves or their livestock. In this passage Gideon was found doing a FEARLESSLY COURAGEOUS thing, he was harvesting crops away from the threshing floor (where crops were normally harvested). In a rebellious and FEARLESSLY COURAGEOUS act, Gideon harvested his crops in the winepress where the Midianite army would not normally suspect crops to be. In this, such a simple task, Gideon exhibited BRAVERY, STRATEGY, and RESILIENCE. But like myself and probably you, Gideon second-guessed his own ability to be fearless. Just a few verses down his response to God was “Oh Lord, how can I deliver Israel? (v. 15)” Do you ever find yourself doing that? Saying, “God, I’m not fearless. I don’t have courage!” God’s response? “Surely, I will be with you! (v. 16)”
Surely, I will be with you!
Flashback to February 2000.
With all the jitters and anxiety that came with my performance I count this as a time in my life where I was fearless. Fearless to stand in an auditorium filled with people to do something I’d never done publicly. Fearless to actually follow-through and not stand on that stage awkwardly silent until ushered off by the emcee. I did it, nerves and all, inexperience and all.
I think when we hear words such as courage, bravery and fearlessness we put a high demand on ourselves to accomplish some big-daunting-impossible task. While I do believe that God graces all of us at some point in our lives to do just that, more often than not he calls us to be fearless in the small things first. Just like Gideon, who hid away to thresh wheat in the winepress. Gideon, in his own ability exhibited fearlessness, God saw it, and then put on an even greater display of fearlessness, courage, and victory through Gideon. Take a moment to soak that in. You have a personal winepress. You may not see it, but God sees it. He is calling you brave. He is calling you fearless.
Like Gideon, 8-year-old Sabrina practiced something innately that many of us struggle with in adulthood. The simplicity of being fearless. At 8 years-old I knew one thing for sure, I loved to sing. Gideon knew one thing, he needed food. I signed up for that program, Gideon stole wheat. Do you see where I’m going here? We show fearlessness in the simplest of tasks, day in and out. As we move by faith, as we should be doing (because the just live by faith) God graduates us to higher levels of fearlessness. Today you’ll conquer stealing your “wheat”, tomorrow God will establish you as one who can chase down an army “as thick as locusts.”
So back to my story. By the end of that song, I was overcome with tears, sobbing, in worship to God. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. God was revealing the aspect of me that was “worshipper,” through my fearless act of signing up for that program, just as he had revealed to Gideon the part of him that was “warrior” “valiant” and “conqueror” by going against the grain. As you show up for your family and friends, as you give to those in need, as you stand up for justice in the workplace, as you send an encouraging message on social media, when you decide to write that book, or enroll in school, take that certification class, God will begin to open up your spiritual eyes to see the part of you that is a deliverer, an intercessor, a pastor, an evangelist, a conqueror, FEARLESS.
I write this and I am filled with tears and expectant joy, knowing that as you go through this day, and as you go through this month, you’re innately acting out the fearless parts of you. As the Holy Spirit guides your every step, HE is causing you to be FEARLESS, in the small things, coaching you for the moment when God will show himself MIGHTY through you in the BIG. And when that time comes, know that you can do it! For, surely! The Lord will be with you.
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