By Rhonda Maydwell
Rhonda Maydwell works at Veterans United and is part of the Home Buying Concierge team. She currently lives in Columbia, MO. Rhonda studied English and Religious Studies at Mizzou and is using her talents as a staff writer for GotQuestions.org. She’s also a wife, mother, and friend to many.
In recent weeks, it seems I’ve been inundated with messages of friends and family embroiled in ferocious battles. Addiction, depression, loss, regrets, chronic mental health concerns. My own college-age daughter struggles with chronic suicidality. She works really hard towards stable mental health—some days she battles to simply hang on. It’s exhausting for her and for my mama’s heart to watch her, support her in every way I can, and to know that ultimately, I have very little control over the battle she faces every morning to get up and to live.
One of the many comforts I find when I study the Bible comes from the epic battles found especially in the Old Testament. I’m not an action movie with explosions, kick butt and takes names attitude kind of gal… and luckily, those aren’t the kind of battles I find in the pages of that ancient text.
In the burgeoning days of Israel, when God was establishing His people and teaching them who He is, what He can do, and why they could trust Him, God put the Israelites in several battles. Never, in all these battles, we’re the Israelites the shoo-in. Never were they the likely victor. They were never the largest in number, biggest in stature, the best equipped or trained. Never. And they certainly weren’t the bravest.
Epic battles of the Bible featured a group of men marching around a large walled city filled with professional soldiers. Several trips around the city culminated in a shout from the Israelites and a blast of a ram’s horn turned trumpet. At that moment, the walls surrounding the fortified city of Jericho fell down and the Israelite band of brothers were victorious thanks to God (see Joshua 6).
Or they featured a scrawny teenage boy armed with a slingshot and a stone who felled a giant armed with a giant’s sword. David’s confidence in a God who would decide the victor was stronger than any sailing rock (see 1 Samuel 17).
And perhaps God’s immense power to fight our battles is best highlighted in the story of runaway slaves who escaped through a parted sea that collapsed upon their captors’ massive army of soldiers and chariots (see Exodus 14).
Are you starting to get the idea?
In Judges Chapter 7, the reader meets Gideon—another unlikely “hero.” The smallest of his family. His family from the smallest tribe of Israel—none of whom were warriors.
God appointed Gideon to build and lead an army to defeat a rival, pagan country. It would have been a miracle if the band of misfits assembled by Gideon had won.
Still, God wanted to make sure that Gideon didn’t get credit for what the Lord was about to do. So when Gideon rounded up 30,000 soldiers (a negligible amount of “soldiers” compared to the vast Midianite army,) God said, “You have too many soldiers.”
So Gideon invited all who didn’t want to be there to go home. And then there were 3000. There was no way in hell they could beat the sophisticated Midianite army now.
But God said, “Um (I know, God probably doesn’t say ‘um,” but it makes for good drama, so just go with it), your army is still too big.” God determined there was still a chance to explain away a win that only God could provide.
Again, Gideon instructed anyone afraid to go into battle to go home. And then they were 300.
Three hundred men prepared to march towards their own slaughter.
But, God. Two of the most powerful words in the Bible
- Genesis 8:1
- Genesis 31:42
- Genesis 31:7
- Genesis 50:20
- 1 Samuel 23:14
- 1 Kings 5:4
- Psalm 49: 14-15
- Psalm 73:26
- Matthew 19:26
- Acts 2:24
- Romans 5:8
- 1 Corinthians 3:6
- Ephesians 2:1-5
When there is nothing you or I can do in an impossible situation or circumstance. God starts rubbing His hands together.
When all seems lost, He rolls up His sleeves.
He looks at the angels and spiritual beings around Him and says with a wink, “Watch what I am about to do.” (Does God wink? I don’t know, but it paints a good picture, right)?
Three hundred men marched towards certain annihilation. By God’s direction, Gideon divided the men into three groups. They snuck in, made a lot of noise, lit torches, caused confusion and chaos, and, against all odds, defeated the Midianites.
Gideon did not win the battle. He was too small and unskilled.
Two hundred and ninety-nine others didn’t win the battle. They weren’t even trained soldiers.
God won the battle in such a way that we can all know this: It isn’t all on us. We don’t have to do all the fighting. We don’t have to prepare to be worthy for God to fight for us. He shows up. Every time.
If you are facing a battle of your own, know this: you don’t have to (and can’t) fight battles on your own. None of us can. We weren’t designed to rely on ourselves. The belief we can or should be able to fight and win our own battles is a pride that comes before destruction (see Proverbs 16:18).
You may have a lot of questions regarding religion. You’ve seen some Gideons and misfits muck it all up. You don’t have to have it all figured out and settled for yourself to allow Him into you battle. You can go to God with your doubts, questions, reservations, and He will meet you there.
No special skills or gifts are required. He actually prefers it that way. Not to show off, but to show up and show you He can be trusted.
These words tell us that our circumstances DO NOT get the final word.
The enemy does not get the final word.
Death and disease do not get the final word.
Addiction does not get the final word.
Depression and mental illness do not get the final word.
Despair does not get the final word.
There is always a but, God. And but, God is more than enough.
He loves you. You don’t have to fight alone. He will fight for you. And as the battle rages on, your brothers and sisters will awkwardly march beside you—not because they are any better equipped than you, because they know they aren’t—but they know the One who is.
If you find yourself facing a battle bigger than yourself. Reach out. Reach out to your pastor. Reach out to a believing friend who will pray with you. Reach out to the many resources available here at VU. But mostly, reach out to the but, God who wins our battles.