Many people believe that when God calls them to do something, resources will suddenly appear. That may happen, but Gideon experienced just the opposite. God stripped away Gideon's resources until Gideon and his army were completely dependent on him.
It's important to realize that God didn't take away Gideon's resources until he had confirmed Gideon's calling. It was only after Gideon was convinced by the signs and called his army to join him that God shrunk the army down from 32,000 to 300. By the time that happened, Gideon was already "all in." He didn't doubt God when the instructions didn't seem to make sense. Gideon was challenged when God sent most of the soldiers home before the battle, but the real lesson was for God's people.
When the little squad of 300 men defeated the combined armies united against Israel, everybody knew that Almighty God had delivered them. There was no confusion about who deserved the glory. Can you imagine the conversations around the dinner table and at the market when those 300 men went home and told their story? People were amazed—not at Gideon's leadership, but at Gideon's amazing God.
When God calls you to do something for him, don't be surprised when resources you have counted on disappear. You might even experience new stresses in your finances, your health, or your career. That doesn't mean you're in sin or that God has abandoned you. It probably means that God wants to do something more wonderful than you could possibly imagine. If you complain and walk away, you'll miss the miracle. But if you trust God when assets are depleted, you might just see God work in a way that brings him the most glory.
Years ago, I felt called to host a youth conference in Chicago. To prepare for the event, I invited 100 youth pastors from around the city to come to our church for planning and prayer. I bought enough sandwiches and drinks for all of them.
Just before noon, I was ready for them to come. None came. Not a single one. I wasn't upset. I didn't question God's call to have the event at our church because it had already been made crystal clear to me. I just picked up a sandwich (I had my choice) and had lunch by myself.
The next week, I scheduled another meeting. A few came. We planned another and another until we had enough involvement to make a difference.
At the conference, thousands of young people came and were blessed. God's voice had been unmistakable the entire time, but he had stripped away the normal resources so I would trust him more than ever.
Wilfredo is the senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. In 2013, he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for his leadership in the evangelical and Latino communities.