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Putting Out the Fleece

Judges 6:40, "And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground."

We love this story of Gideon and his fleece. How many times have we put out a fleece for God to give us direction? Gideon was a plain farm boy from the country. He had no formal training in leading armies, yet he was faithful. God had told Gideon to go fight the Midianites, and he wanted to be sure of his calling. As you read Judges 6, you will find the entire story. Gideon was such a humble man, and as he went to God, he respectfully asked Him to give him a sign to be sure.

Several years ago, I had the worst year ever teaching school. I had fought the wiles of the devil long enough! I had reacted badly, not once but several times throughout that year. During the first semester I had some bad-to-the-bone children. Ninth graders should be put into a barrel and fed through a hole until they reach at least eleventh grade! As I corrected one guy, he said to me, "Aw, baby, don’t get so upset with me!"

I replied, "My husband does not even call me baby. You will address me as Mrs. Burton!" Oh, I was mad.

Later, in second semester, I had to teach a biology class of tenth graders who already knew more than I ever cared to know about biology. I don’t think more than one student ever read an assignment all term. That class was held in the main building, a long hike from my main classroom; and I had to be in the classoom before they all arrived, or it would have been utter confusion! I had twenty-eight wild teenagers to control, trick into learning, and polish into fine young people. Teachers are supposed to do that, aren’t they?

By the end of the term, I packed up my things so that I could move out during the summer. I was never going to be a teacher again. I went with my family to the beach (to make them as miserable as I was). While sitting on the balcony one morning reading my Bible at the place where we were staying, I made a deal with God. I was not haughty—just heartbroken and desperate. I told Him that if I were to continue teaching school, He would have to convince me that He had called me to be a teacher because right then I could not do it anymore.

I put out my fleece. I needed two students to write me a note, thanking me for helping them. Now, I live in a small town, and I frequently meet former and current students. That didn’t count. They had to be letters, written and sent to me. That prayer was on a Saturday, and I had to have the letters by Wednesday of the next week!

On Monday, I received a note from Amy. She had frequently left sweet notes on my desk all year. I loved her so much, and I appreciated her note. The next day, I received a note from Yolonda, thanking me for recommending her for a job. She was a quiet student, always doing her work and rarely saying anything to me.

God was so kind to this broken reed of a servant. He sent me not only one letter from Amy but also a second one from Yolonda. So I tearfully thanked Him for His graciousness to me and decided not to leave my place of service.

Since then, I have never sunk to that depth of discouragement. God has put me here, and when He changes His mind, He will notify me, just as He did Gideon. He delights in guiding His children.

by Sarah Weathers Burton. Updated October 21, 2015.