Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go, but if you don’t go with me . . .” (Judg. 4:8)

MY DAUGHTER, EMMA, turns thirteen years old today. When she was eight, she decided to give basketball a try. I told her I was sure she could do it. The hoop in our driveway isn’t moveable, but she was determined to make a basket in the ten-foot-tall rim. She worked hard and, after about a hundred tries, she finally made one! She was so happy that she kept shooting, experiencing more and more success.

God spoke through Deborah, His prophetess, instructing Barak to lead the Israelites into battle. Even though God said victory was a done deal, the cowardly general stubbornly demanded that Deborah go with him so he could be sure the fight would go in his favor. Assurance of the Almighty’s presence wasn’t enough for him. Imagine what the reward for his faith would have been if he’d followed God unconditionally. God used him, but there was no honor in it for Barak.

Emma could have asked for a shorter rim to make playing basketball easier. She even rejected my offer to lift her up so it wouldn’t be as far of a throw. But she believed me when I said it was possible, and she decided to see it through like a big kid. Allow God’s presence to encourage you to greater service for Him.

Revisit a challenge God has presented to you . . . and do it!

Dave Knickerbocker is a church planter and aspiring writer from northeast Ohio.