Many times throughout my military career I was confronted with situations where I didn’t have adequate resources (people, time, or money) to accomplish the mission at hand. I had a choice. I could either throw up my hands and give up, or turn to God and ask him to be with me and for the strength to be able to accomplish the task with the resources available. I chose the latter option.
Gideon had the same situation as outlined in the Book of Judges. God came to Gideon and gave him the mission of leading the Israelites against the Medianites, a seemingly insurmountable task given resources available. Gideon’s first response, much like Moses, was highlighting his limitations. 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 6:15-16)
God assured Gideon that He would be with him, and He was. Gideon set about the task at hand. He first assembled his forces, a total of 22,000 men. He wasn’t convinced that would be enough, but God told Gideon that was too many troops. He told Gideon to release those Israelites who were terrified, and 12,000 left. With a force of 10,000, Gideon was worried that wasn’t going to be enough. God said that is still too many, so He developed a test, and only 300 troops passed the test. Gideon went into battle leading a force of 300 against a much larger force, and prevailed. God was with him.
Gideon, like all good leaders, led from the front. “Watch me”, he told them, “Follow my lead.” (Judges 7:17) After the victory Gideon gave all glory to God. But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23).
I had a similar situation when I deployed the US Army’s Third Infantry Division to Iraq as part of the surge in 2007. I was given a battle space the size of the State of West Virginia, with only 25,000 troops to cover that large area. The area was referred to as the “Triangle of Death”, because of the large number of insurgents that had been there for many years. We knew we needed to disperse our forces to be with the people of Iraq, so we established 62 patrol bases, each manned with about 100 Soldiers. After 15 months the area was referred to as the Triangle of Life due to the great work of those magnificent Soldiers. I take no credit for the success, but give all glory to God. I knew it was going to be OK, because God was with me and my Soldiers.
Leaders must have faith. They must turn to God in difficult times, and ask God for his help. This has happened many times over the course of our Nation’s history. During the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, General George S Patton prayed “Almighty and most merciful Father we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness, to restrain the immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grand us fair weather for battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen”
It really is all about having faith. God has promised us that he will be with us. All we have to do is ask. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7-7). Just ask.