Gideon was just a poor, frightened farmer, hiding his crops from the Midianites who had beaten his people into submission. Just to survive was challenge enough. Then God comes along, out of the blue, and calls him to run these bloodsuckers off the face of the planet. "The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you … I will be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as if they were but one man'" (Judges 6:14, 16).
Understandably, Gideon is hesitant about volunteering, or being volunteered.
Can't do it, too weak, mutters Gideon under his breath. Unfortunately the man didn't have the benefit of Paul's writings in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 on the sufficiency of God's grace, the Almighty's power shown through human weakness, rejoicing in those weaknesses knowing that when a man is at his weakest, it is then that the Lord can really show His strength. No one felt less like celebrating his lack of possibilities than did Gideon.
If he'd had a high school yearbook, Gideon might have been listed as the "least-likely-to-succeed." Perhaps he would have penned in the words himself. It wasn't that he didn't know the stories of God's mighty acts passed down from generation to generation (Judges 6:13). He just hadn't experienced any of them himself, and without that personal touch, he wondered if God was really with Israel at all, or if all the stories were just fables embellished to entertain the kids at bedtime.
Gideon's problem was faith, believing in what he had never seen. It's a problem that dogs the steps of all of us.
God didn't make it easy for Gideon. He told the young farmer to go "in the strength" he had, even though Gideon feels his weakness to the core of his soul. God asked him to believe where he had no evidence. He sends a fearful farmer to become a courageous captain of what would turn out to be the essence of minimalist in the annals of the history of armies. He equips Gideon with lamps, pitchers and a promise: "I will be with you." I wonder if Gideon might have felt a twinge of concern as he looked out on the field of Midianites tents that night. I wonder if it crossed his mind to question what on earth a simple farmer was doing in this place, at this moment, with this humanly impossible mission to accomplish.
He went in the strength he had, as little as it was, and Gideon won the day.
Sometimes God doesn't bless us with great strength, or even great faith. He simply takes the little we have to offer Him and does great things with it. In the end it isn't the little that counts; it's the promise of a very big God that makes the difference.