The bumper sticker read, "Sometimes all I want to be is a missing person." I couldn't help but chuckle, wondering if the poor soul driving was a mom needing a moment to herself. I could relate, knowing full well my own son had stood outside my locked door banging and yelling and wondering when I'd finally be out.
Of course I began to analyze. (Yes, you know me. I can over-analyze anything, including a bumper sticker.) What's important to note, by God's sovereign design, is the fact that I am studying this very topic and just read this portion of Gideon's story this morning.
"The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12
From my study I've come to understand that Gideon was in the least likely of places. Like the wish on the bumper sticker, he was attempting to be a "missing person." Don't misunderstand - he wasn't slacking on the job. But he was threshing wheat in the wine press. Essentially, he was hiding.
What I love about this passage is the progression of the presence of the Lord. First he came, then he sat. Unbeknownst to Gideon, he was in the presence of the Lord. He was being watched and observed, even in his hour of fear, even when he was trying to remain hidden. Even when you think he's forsaken you or left your side, even in the midst of your battle when you are hiding from the enemy, you can be assured the Lord has never left you.
Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon. He spoke to him. He affirmed his presence. He even foreshadowed his future of being a mighty warrior. Up to that point he'd been a wheat thresher. Now he's standing in the presence of the Lord being honored for his valiant fighting. It's quite a story of God's presence with us. No matter where we're "hiding." No matter what enemy we're up against. No matter what mundane task we're in the middle of. We're never too far from the reach of God. We're never out of His presence. We're never beyond His ability to look at us and see our potential despite our trepidation and fear.
There's no such thing as a missing person in God's army. Remember the 99 sheep? That's right. He went after the one. And He'll come after you too. You may not even be aware of it yet. He may not have yet "appeared" in your situation. But rest assured, He's there. Whatever you're facing, whatever battle you must fight, whatever task you must perform. There's never a battle too fierce for Him to fight for you. There's never a task too menial for Him to perform with you. He's with you, mighty warrior.