“And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” – Judges 6:11-14

At my lowest point, I was sleeping on the floor of an unfurnished cinder block apartment, had lost my job, and was facing a lengthy prison sentence. I had five dollars in my pocket, no food, income or gas in the car, and my wife had left me taking our four children. I had alienated my parents and sisters, and I was alone and totally hopeless. Therefore, I can empathize with Gideon.

Israel was suffering the consequences of doing "evil in the sight of the Lord (Judges 6:1)." They were hiding in the hills among the rocks and in caves. Their livestock and crops were being stolen by the Midianites, and Israel was starving, defeated, and afraid. Thus, it seems ridiculous when an angel called Gideon a mighty man of valor. Gideon was separating a handful of wheat while hiding in a winepress. He was hopeless and afraid, but God saw him as Gideon would be one day. He was a mighty warrior.

At times it feels like we are surrounded by enemies and our problems overwhelm us. We may wonder where God is, and we may believe that we have fallen too far, and our sins are too many. Our friends and family may have rejected us, slandered our names, or not supported us when we were knocked down. The monthly bills may be greater than our monthly income and our electricity may be shut off at any moment. We have failed and feel hopeless and unfulfilled. Yet, like Gideon, God's message is the same, “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour (Judges 6:12b).”

Each of us feels defeated at times, and we question how God could ever use us. We are often weak, can be selfish, make mistakes, and fail to live as God has called us to. But God said to Gideon, in effect, you are a mighty warrior! You just do not know it yet. We do not have to be powerful, smart, or perfect to be useful to God, only willing. God is the source of all of our strength, and His power is sufficient.

God does not use those who are self-righteous because it is never about our strength but our faith. 1 Corinthians 1:25-27 says:

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

God called Gideon and used him to defeat the Midianites, who were a multitude numbered as the "sand of the seas" (Judges 7:2), using a mere three hundred men with which to battle, and He calls us too. Our world is filled with "Midianites," who mock God. We face ridicule for standing on God's word and for our faith in Jesus Christ. We may be weak and afraid, but God has called us mighty men and women of valor. His strength is sufficient for our purpose - to reflect His light in the darkness and to stand against Satan. God provides the armor (Ephesians 6:10-17), and His word is our weapon. We only need to trust Him, for He has called us warriors.