Unlike the more famous "Doubting Thomas" who only doubted his colleagues’ tale of the risen Christ, Gideon is full of doubts: doubts about his family, doubts about himself, and doubts about God.
How can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.
If the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Later in this chapter (verses 36-40), Gideon will ask for repeated miracles to quiet his doubt.
Gideon said to God, "If indeed you are going to save Israel through me, as you promised, I am putting this woolen fleece on the threshing floor. If dew comes on the fleece alone, while all the ground is dry, I shall know that you will save Israel through me, as you promised."
That is what took place. Early the next morning he wrung the dew from the fleece, squeezing out of it a bowlful of water.
Gideon then said to God, "Do not be angry with me if I speak once more. Let me make just one more test with the fleece. Let the fleece alone be dry, but let there be dew on all the ground."
That night God did so; the fleece alone was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.
Gideon would eventually learn to trust the Lord and himself. He would be successful in defending Israel, would live a long life, and have many children.
Doubt, of course, is a very human emotion. Sometimes doubt can be rational, encouraging us to verify and be prudent before acting, but many times doubt can be paralyzing and even deadly.
Oftentimes doubt is the silky whisper of the Tempter, dissuading us from what God wants us to do in our lives.
Facts and proofs can assuage doubt, but ultimately (especially in the spiritual and moral realm) doubt can only be fully conquered by the gift of faith.
May we be prudent, but may we never let ourselves be paralyzed with doubt.
May we always turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, no matter what paths lie before us in this life, and seek from him the precious and powerful gift of faith that drives away all doubt and drives us on to the works of truth and love that the Lord wants us to accomplish in his name.