And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

When the Lord came to a young man named Gideon he wasn’t approaching someone who we’d see as ‘hero’ material. By his own admission he wasn’t someone who’d stand out in a crowd. No six-pack abs. No fancy car. No mile long resume describing all the people he’d saved. He was just a simple farmer from an obscure family.

In fact, when the angel of the Lord came to Gideon he was threshing wheat in a winepress so he could hide from the enemy! Hardly a sign of courage and valor. Certainly not the way you’d expect a national hero to act. We’d rather see our hero standing atop a hillside announcing to the enemy hidden among the rocks that he was going to thresh wheat as well as anyone who tried to interrupt him!

But, that wasn’t Gideon. At least that’s not the Gideon at the beginning of the story. But then God came along and changed everything. He told Gideon that he was going to be someone great. He, Gideon, was going to be a national hero. Gideon, like any of us, doubted God’s word. Some chastise Gideon for putting God through a series of tests to see if the message was truly of God. I don’t. I see the fleece idea Gideon had as a sign of cautious wisdom. “Okay God, if it’s you make the fleece wet and the ground dry.” [done!] “Okay, God, one more test. Make the fleece dry and the ground wet. [done again.]

From that point on, it doesn’t seem like Gideon has much doubt of his capabilities. Not with the God of peace at his side. Not when he tore down the idols of his neighbors. Not when God told him to whittle down his army to 32,000 to 300!

What was it that gave this simple farmer the courage to conquer his enemies? Peace. Not peace in his own abilities to get the job done. Peace in his God. Gideon learned that when a person has God at his side there doesn’t need to be any worry or fear. Even in the most overwhelming situation God will find a way of deliverance.

That’s grace. Grace says that even though I don’t deserve it, God will walk with me and give me the strength to overcome whatever is before me. Peace is the result of trusting in God’s power, not our own.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many times when I struggle and fail. I worry about the future. I worry about my ability to overcome the stuff that lies ahead of me. Thank you that success in my life isn’t based on my ability, but on your power. Empower me by your Spirit to grow in relationship with Jesus so that I can experience the power you have for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.