36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised-
37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said."
38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew."
40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
Judges 6:36-40, NIV
I was talking to Dawn today, and she brought up the story of Gideon, saying that it was a lot like what has transpired with me over the past six months. I started talking about this decision back in August, but I have never really told what motivated me without a shadow of a doubt to go to Paraguay.
Thursday night of youth camp was the first time that I had ever really felt that God was actually speak to me about something. A few months before camp, I had learned about the Next Steps program, and even blogged that I was going to apply. The doors never opened, and to be honest, the newness of the feeling was wearing off and I knew that I wasn't called to do that. However, I had been spending my entire summer in a little coffee shack, serving nasty, ungrateful customers, to save up money for this trip, that now I wasn't even sure that I was supposed to take. Talk about confusion.
Thursday was all about calling. The preacher preached until we were on our faces sobbing. Rachol got her calling that night and, of course had to tell me. I was so glad for her, but despite my joy that she now knew what she was supposed to do, I was really upset that she had learned what she was supposed to do, and I was even more confused than before. My calling had been "taken away", and I didn't know what was going on, and now she gets a shiny new calling? Unfair, much?
Consecration that night. Again, he talks about calling, and I'm starting to get the tiniest bit bitter, maybe even a little bit discouraged. Why do you keep throwing this in my face, God? Yes, I get you're talking to me, but could you at least explain to me what the muffin you're trying to tell me? For the love of cheese, really!
So, I did something risky. Something Gideon-like. I had no idea who Gideon was, but I was channeling him, nonetheless.
"God," I said, "You told me that I was supposed to go overseas. I'm working my butt off at this stupid job that I hate. I need to start college applications in a few months. You need to tell me what on earth is going on. I need an answer within 48 hours, or I'm throwing this thing out the window and doing what I want to do."
Did I mention that you should never test God like that, unless you really, really want to know what he's thinking?
I get a text less than 24 hours later. I'm sitting in my dorm, getting ready to go to choir practice, and my dad texts me from the Hispanic Outreach Picnic that the church is doing. He's talking to the Goodrums and they want me in Paraguay, like, yesterday.
That was fast. But maybe it was a fluke.
I get home at about 1 AM on Friday night. I go and talk to my mom who basically relays the entire conversation to me. The missionaries pretty much flat out read my mail. All that my mom said was that I had been thinking about doing a missions trip.
"Oh, she should come to Paraguay, she would love it there. She could come to our school, and teach, and oh, she would just love it."
What they didn't know was that I had already enrolled in Teacher Academy. And that I taught Sunday School. And that, oh yeah, I was taking AP Spanish.
"Is your daughter here?"
"No, she's at camp."
"Was she there Thursday night?"
"God spoke to me Thursday night. I wouldn't know your daughter if I saw her, and I don't know if I prayed with her or not, but God told me that someone got a calling that night. God called her. You tell her that God told me that Paraguay needs her."
He wrote 'Paraguay needs YOU' on a slip of paper with their cell number and their e-mail, and said that they would be basing out of the campgrounds for the next few weeks. I met with them, they gave me the DVDs about the school and the missionaries, and I've been emailing with Sis.Goodrum ever since then. She helped me edit my application and has become a great friend over the past six months, always asking me what's going on with school and such, and helping me with whatever I need to get ready to go.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
How does this relate to Gideon?
God gets me. He gets that I like to weasel my way out of even the slightest bit of adversity. I don't like change, and I need to be locked into something.
I took my letter and Partners In Missions slips to church today to show off. Almost everyone I showed them to asked me if they could take one of the slips home with them. Oh yeah, by the way, PIM slips are contribution pledges. Sis.Potter, who has been gung-ho for me going on this trip since the second I told her about it, was incredibly psyched about me getting my slips and is working on some secret project for the craft fair in March that will raise a lot of money for me. My world-traveling friend, Jacqueline, has a bunch of books with stuff to know before you pack to go overseas.
Yesterday, I was having a nervous breakdown, telling my friends and parents that I didn't think I was supposed to go to Paraguay anymore, because of all of the changes.
Gideon asked God for signs. He wanted to know that there was no grey area, no fine print to get him out of God's will for him. He did everything in his power to make sure that what God was telling him was in fact God. I have a feeling that he was probably a little weirded out about the idea of leading Israel to victory. And both times, God showed him that it was in fact him, without a doubt.
God gets that I will take the loopholes if I can get them. I will jump at any chance to say, "Well, you didn't specifically saaaaay......"
Seriously, just ask my parents.
So, he provides, quickly, and clearly, and without any loopholes to make sure that I get that I'm doing good and that I'm doing what I should do. He's awesome like that.
Oh yeah, by the way, Gideon comes out victorious in the end.