And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
God never says to Gideon, “Do not be afraid.” He understands the heart of His chosen warrior and works with him so that he can go forward in obedience even if he is a little fearful. Very gently, God removes the obstacles in Gideon’s path, alleviates his fears and doubts and provides what he needs to accomplish what He wanted him to do. So instead of condemning Gideon, He gives him someone to go with him so he has the assurance and confidence he needs to continue on, trusting and having faith in God.
We’re not immune to fear, and we’re not perfect. We’re not going to be sure and strong in every situation we face, and God understands that. He understands who we are and that sometimes we need a little extra encouragement. He knows our hearts and if we’re desiring to obey but perhaps still carry some fear with us, too. And if we acknowledge that, God will help us move ahead in spite of it.
So just as God worked with Gideon, He will work with us. He’ll be patient with us as we try to understand what He is calling us to do. And as we take our small steps of obedience, He’ll remove the barriers along the way. He’ll go with us step by step and tenderly alleviate our fears as we continue forward and learn to trust Him more. And along the way, He’ll often give us someone to go with us when He knows we are afraid to go on our own. And when we don’t let our fear stop us, God will give us all the strength we need to overcome whatever obstacles we face.
Fear is a natural response that we all experience at different times in our lives. What matters is how we respond to it. Do we let it paralyze us, or do we persevere? Do we give up, or do we keep going ahead? Do we allow it to prevent us from doing what we know we have to do, or do we look to God and allow our faith to grow in those difficult moments? Let’s trust that God knows our hearts and our weaknesses. He knows our limitations and just what we need to be able to overcome those things, and He will provide them and enable us to keep on going onward to victory.