“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Gideon), and said unto him, ‘The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.’”
Judges 6: 12, King James Version
“Actions and Intentions” Part 1
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.”
Has someone ever told me I have a special potential in a certain area of my life?
If God came to me and called me a, “woman of valour,” how would it make me feel about myself?
“What is important is not what someone is but what (she) is waiting for. Not the events of life but its possibilities.”
“I dwell in Possibility
A fairer house than Prose
More numerous of windows
Superior for Doors.”
I’m a huge believer in two words that begin with “P” which are closely linked – “Potential” and “Possibilities.” Like large windows that allow us to see unknown vistas or doors that open to unrevealed panoramas, uncovered potential combined with unlimited possibilities offer us, every day, the ability to explore new horizons in our lives.
In a letter written by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, she noted that, “Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as an opportunity we encounter every day.” As I thought about these words I began to think about how the daily routine or the “grind” as our day can be referred to, so often puts us into such a deep rut. We keep walking with eyes down, putting one foot in front of the other, rarely lifting our heads or our vision from the beaten path we are on.
I say this because, for our next few devotionals, we will look at the potential and possibilities for better or worse that are attached to our actions and intentions.
We begin by taking a close look at the life of Gideon – a very complex person, indeed.
You may be thinking that at Transformation Garden we are studying the lives of all the women in the Bible. However, as I shared with you during our study of Abraham, Lot, Moses, Joseph and other men – very often, the lives of the men and women are so interconnected that to focus only on the females would not complete the picture. As we will discover over the next few weeks, in order to understand the historical landscape that made up the lives of some of the Old Testament characters and their families, we need to dig deeply and ask the difficult questions as we uncover some of the actions and intentions which affected the lives of individuals for generations to come.
As we begin our study in Judges 6, we note that again, God’s children did “evil in the sight of the Lord.” How soon they forgot the pillage by Sisera and King Jabin! How short their memories were about the victories led by God through the obedience of Deborah, Barak and Jael.
This time, it was the Midianites that oppressed God’s children. In fact, Judges 6: 2 says the Israelites “made them dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.” Fear had gripped their hearts and they were hiding away in the hills – scared to death. Talk about lost potential. It seems all their possibilities for success had gone down the drain.
However, and I just love this, God was watching – and thankfully, our God sees potential in the most unlikely places and within the hearts of the most unsuspecting individuals! An angel of the Lord, we are told, appeared sitting under an oak tree where Gideon, the son of Joash, was threshing wheat by the winepress, trying to “hide it from the Midianites.” (Judges 6: 11).
Here’s the amazing thing about our heavenly Father. He sent the angel with this message: “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” (Judges 6: 12).
Excuse me for a minute, but let’s not overlook the irony in this statement. Gideon and his family were hiding out in a cave, frightened to death for their lives, fearing even to thresh wheat out in broad daylight and yet God came to him and said, “Hello – you strong, courageous, bold, heroic, confident, gallant, fearless man.” Yes, all the words I just used mean the same as the word, “valour.” While Gideon was shaking in his boots, living in a hide-out, God identified him as a man of valour. Don’t you just love it! God saw Gideon’s potential when Midian saw prey on the run!
What can you say about your heavenly Father who sees the potential we pass over as worthless? What do we think about our God who operates within a world of possibilities and promise rather than the impossible?
As I look at Gideon, a most unlikely candidate for leading Israel, I think about my own father who was orphaned when just a toddler. Left at a neighbor’s house, he grew up in very harsh conditions where love was lacking. Offered little hope of educationally improving his life, one day God sent an angel, this time it was a real-live, motherly, woman angel who, with her loving heart, took this lost child in her arms and opened up to him a world he had never known.
Time and again when my dad, as a young boy, got kicked out of school for misbehaving, “Mom Pohle,” went to the principal’s office pleading for “one more chance.” She had heavenly eyes that saw potential. She, too, lived in a world of possibilities. And her visionary love paid off. For she lived not only to see my dad live up to all the potential she knew he had, but she also watched as over 20 other foster kids she took in grew to be doctors, nurses, pilots, teachers and missionaries – moms and dads – who are now looking for potential in those whose lives they touch.
Today, there may be someone in your life who needs for you to tell them they are a person of valour. It may be someone who is waiting for you or me to believe in them. And when they are watered, with the possibilities of love, they’ll bloom into something so effective, we’ll all be shocked!
Years after my dad finished high school, he was elected by his classmates to be Alumni President and gave the keynote address alumni weekend. After he spoke, an elderly man came up to him. It was the principal of the school at the time my dad attended. “Well, Jimmy,” this dear man said, “I never thought I’d see this day. I would never have predicted you’d turn out so well.” Isn’t it tremendous what happens when we view those around us with God’s eyes – eyes that see all our potential.
Why not tell someone you know today they are a person of valour. Share God’s vision – His possibilities – His potential. (Bethanie – you are Effie’s and God’s woman of valour! I love you! Pardon me – it’s a note to my niece who reads the devotionals every day!)
“The Holy Spirit of God can fulfill our potentialities.”
The Touch of Love
“I believe in the burning, redemptive touch of love
Exposing, restoring and comforting;
Inspiring us with courage to be
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available in all bookstores and on Amazon.com
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.