The Fleece In Front of God
I made an interesting decision a few weeks ago. I am constantly having to reevaluate my priorities. They are firmly set, mind you, but in the case where one priority feeds the other, the line often becomes blurred.
For example, my priorities are from most important to last: God, family, church, work. My priority is to first be in God’s will by serving Him. If you asked me what God’s will for my life is right now I would tell you that it is to finish school. My second priority is to my family, most importantly, my wife. This has become increasingly important lately because of her illness. My third is to my church. Since we have just recently become more involved in church and are still getting our feet wet, this one has been on the backburner recently. My last is work, a job which I loathe, but have to do to provide for the other three top priorities.
Because of this loathing, I have often prayed that God open a door for me regarding employment, but realized that a job with the benefits that I have does not come along very much. The job is actually a very good one; I have just outgrown it and I see no room for advancement any time soon. However, my wife has been sick and we really need the insurance, so I have stuck with the job. I made the hard decision that if a class came along that would allow me to take it, that I would not sacrifice my job on that altar. Family came before school and as much as I hated it, work facilitated me taking care of my family. I thought that I might be lucky to have one class offered that I could take, at the most two. I was quite shocked last night to realize that there were three! Two of them I can take at night; the other is during the day. On my ride home, I tried to think of every scenario that I could that would allow me to keep my job at the credit union and take all three classes. Considering that a normal semester goes four months and the spring and summer classes are only two and a half months, taking three classes would easily be the equilvalent of full-time school. An inflexible full-time work schedule and full-time school do not really mix, plus if I attempted it, it would probably killed me.
So I did what every responsible man should do: I prayed. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I do not think that the point of that passage is that God will give you that new car you want so badly, but that if you delight in Him, He will give you what your desires are or He will change those desires. The question that I must ask is if my desire to complete school faster is a desire of God or a desire of my flesh.
In Judges 6:36-38, we read, “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.” Gideon placed a fleece in front of God and said in a nutshell, “I want to know your will.” Now, I am not saying that I recommend this for everyone. For instance, if you tell God that Mary is the one for you if she wears a polka-dotted dress to work the next day and she does, that does not necessarily mean that God is telling you to marry her. God actually warns us several times in Scripture for us not to test Him. But when a natural fleece is layed in front of God by circumstances, God wants you to trust Him for His will. In my situation, a fleece in the form of a deadline has been placed in front of me. If there is not a way for me to take this class before May 10th, then I know that God has chosen to teach me a valuable lesson about priorities. If He does choose to remove me from my current situation and provide for me a way to take this class, then I know that God has chosen to reveal Himself to me in an absolutely supernatural way. Either way, the command to trust Him looms large in front of me and I have the privilege of waiting to see what He will show me.