Earlier this week I was washing the bed sheets. Taking them from the dryer, one of the sheets was still a bit damp, so I took it and draped it over one end of the dining table and two chairs. It was then I had a “deja vu” moment. Did your parents let you build forts in the dining room as a child? Did you toss blankets and sheets over the table and chairs? My mother even let me have some of the kitchen pots and pans to add to my private dwelling. It was not an attractive sight, doing nothing for the room’s decor. Even so, my mother enjoyed watching my creativity. She knew I would not grow into an adult throwing blankets and sheets over dining room tables to play beneath it.
Building forts was the extent of my imagination as a child. I wasn’t ready to travel to foreign lands alone. I had no experience in which I could write a book. I could never have prepared a lesson plan or given a talk before hundreds of people, but I could build an amazing blanket fort. I had the strength and the know-how to do that much. Other things would come later.
Isn’t it the same in our spiritual worlds? Sometimes we sense God leading us to do something new, to crawl out from beneath the familiarity of our blanket forts, but fear takes hold. We hear the lies of the enemy, Satan, telling us we will fail if we try. We believe we’re good for nothing more than building a blanket fort. It reminds me of Gideon.
Gideon was discouraged and afraid, but he was doing all he could think of doing to feed his family. He was actually hiding in a winepress, threshing out wheat for bread during a time of Midian captivity. His imagination could think of nothing else. He was building forts. Then, God spoke to him, telling him it was time for something more. It was time for him to lead the nation of Israel away from the imprisonment of the Midianites.
Imagine Gideon’s surprise. Why, he and his family were surviving on the wheat he could find. They would get by. They were comfortable and safe enough. He didn’t need to do anything more, but there comes a time in all of our lives when we have to stop building forts. We can be afraid, but we must come out from under the dining room table. Read what God said to Gideon in Judges 6:14, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of the Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” You see, God will never lead you or me to do anything without giving us the strength and ability to do it. Gideon succeeded. Why? Because he did what God told him to do, trusting that God would give him the strength and ability to do it. Always remember, obedience brings blessings, not some of the time, but all of the time. If each of God’s children would simply believe that fact, then we would all climb out from beneath our dining room tables.
There’s a time for building forts, for stretching the imagination, for learning and practicing; but the time must come, when we fold up the blankets and walk into the bigger picture our Father has set for us. Oh, what indescribable joy when we crawl out from under the dining room table, walking instead in the masterful design our Father has drawn out just for us, “plans for good and not bad, to give us hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)