The LORD said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'"This verse makes me think of times in my life where I was struggling with getting close to the Lord and was turning to everyone and everything to try to fix it, but nothing was working. The sources I was turning to weren't bad, just as Gideon's fighting men weren't bad. Some things I was trying were talking to wiser people, reading books, and listening to worship music. Those are all good tactics. However, as much I was seeking the right formula (note: NOT really seeking the Lord as much as a way to succeed at Christianity), none of those things were the magical answer to my problem.
Eventually (And that is a kind word. It took a very long time. Years' worth of time) I have become close to God. Annoyingly, it's so much easier to see clearly how from this side of the situation. As I reflect upon that frustrating time, when I felt like I was failing, that I wasn't doing this faith walk right, that I was missing something important, I can see that I was the problem. . . The Lord, I think, wanted me to be able to look back on that time and see that the Lord's hand and the Lord's hand alone is what "saved me"--what brought me close to Him and gave me any ability to seek Him, hear Him, or see His work. If I had gotten my answer by following some list of five steps, well, then, I could congratulate myself upon successful completion of a program. I could pat myself on the back for my faithful abilities. . . Instead, I marvel at some of the changes in my heart and know beyond any doubt that the Lord did that mysterious work, and it was NOT by my hand.