I've been thinking about God margin. This is a term we learned in women's Bible study this year as we looked at the story of Gideon.
God margin means the space between the task before you and your own ability to accomplish it.
When an assignment from God is beyond us, when we cannot do it in our own strength, it allows God to show up and provide in a way that reveals His glory.
Sounds scary. We like to do things we know we can accomplish. But it also sounds exciting! I crave seeing God's work. When He puts a task before me that is way too big for me to manage on my own, then I have faith that He will show up!
In Judges chapter 6, the Israelites, God's chosen people, have been oppressed by the Midianites for seven years. Gideon is hiding in a winepress when the angel of the Lord comes to him.
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?"
"But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
The Lord answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together." (Judges 6:14-16)
After God had convinced Gideon that He was going to deliver the Midianites into Gideon's hand in battle, God downsized Gideon's army. The size of Gideon's army was 32,000 men, which was already a disadvantage, but God said that was too many men.
The Lord said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'" So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
But the Lord said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water and I will sift them for you there...."
The Lord said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men...I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred... (Judges 7:2-4a,7-8a)
God took Gideon's army from 32,000 down to 300! Yiiikes. But God knew what He was doing. As God promised, thousands of Midianites were defeated by the Israelite army of only 300 men. The Midianites actually turned on each other in their confusion while Gideon and his men just watched. (see Judges 7:19-22) Gideon's small army never could have brought about this victory in its own strength! God wanted to reveal His strength.
I have a couple of dreams in my heart. Things I have no idea how to accomplish, or when, or where. But I keep thinking that I don't have to have it all figured out. If these dreams are from the Lord, He's gotta be the One to provide the means. It's way beyond me.
And I feel this bubbling anticipation, wondering what He is going to do! I cannot wait to get more glimpses of Him. He amazes me!
In Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, I read this:
"When God speaks, what He asks of us requires faith. Our major problem, however, is self-centeredness. We assume we have to accomplish the assignment in our own strength and with our current resources. We think, I can't do that. That is impossible.
"We forget that when God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do-- not what He wants us to do for Him. We join Him so He can do His work through us. We don't have to be able to accomplish the task with our limited ability or resources. With faith we can confidently proceed to obey Him because we know that He is going to bring to pass what He purposes. Jesus indicated that what is impossible with man is possible with God. Mark 10:27: Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
"...Some people say, 'God will never ask me to do something that's impossible.' On the contrary, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something I know I can handle on my own, I assume it is probably not from God. The assignments God gave in the Bible were always God-sized. They were always beyond what people could do in their strength because He wanted to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His provision, and His love to His people and to a watching world. That is the only way the world will come to know Him.
"You could name many God-sized assignments in Scripture. God told Abraham to father a nation when Abraham had no son and Sarah was past child-bearing age. He told Moses to deliver the children of Israel, to cross the Red Sea, and to provide water from a rock. He told Gideon to defeat the Midianite army with only three hundred men. Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitudes and to make disciples of all nations. None of these things were humanly possible. When people see something that only God can do, they come to know God."
Henry & Richard Blackaby, Claude King
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God
I long to see God work in my life, but I will miss so much if I do not obey when He calls me to take on tasks that are daunting. What about you? What are you dreaming about? What has God asked you to do? What if you didn't need to figure out how it was all going to happen and you just decided to take a step of faith?
One of my favorite verses says we are humble jars of clay, and that the good news within us is treasure. How terribly beautiful.
I don't need to be amazing and shiny and capable and impressive. Because the Lord within me is beyond all of me. He's the treasure.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."