Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where is God when we Need Him?

Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The LORD looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?" Judges 6:13-14

Yesterday Gideon was hiding out, threshing the wheat when the angel of the Lord came to him. The angel offered Gideon a word of security by telling him that the Lord was with him.  But Gideon has a question for this messenger of God.    

When the messenger of God came to him, he saluted him with the words from Judges 6:13, "And GIDEON said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then has all this befallen us?"  His immediate reply seems a bit contemptuous. "The Lord be with us," he said in effect.  “I don’t see much sign of that. If the Lord be with us, why then has all this befallen us?

How often has the cry of Gideon been heard from the depths of suffering and pain?  Here is a woman whose husband has been taken in the prime of life.  She just cannot understand it.  It is not that she doesn’t believe in God and his infinite love.  It is just that she cannot fit the two together, and they do not make sense.  If the Lord be with us, she says, why has this befallen me?

One hears it time and again from people who look around at the agony of our world today.  The love of God seems an empty phrase amid the bursting bombs, hostility between nations, the horror of ruined cities, self-pity, cruelty, and despair.  If God cares about people, why do so many millions starve and die?  How can we square what is happening in our world today with the belief in an Almighty God and Father?

It is useless to suggest that we have easy answers to the continuing riddle of life.  But there are some things we do know, and those glorious promises and assurances of God’s presence are replete in sacred Scripture.  "In the beginning God"; and with that word to begin our scripture, we believe and are assured that God was in the beginning, will be at the end, and is present in all there is in between.  "The Lord is my shepherd, I have no other needs";  and that assurance tells us that we can always expect God to be near, to guide, to support and to protect.  "The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in, now and forever." We can expect the Lord to be close at hand in all our comings and goings. 

Christianity would be a dead faith if we had no hope for the present or future. Hope would be shattered, meaning would be lost; the future would be empty.  But there is an answer to Gideon and to us.  Part of it is the fact that suffering does not contradict the loving care of God.  Some people are irritated by the statement that suffering does us good.  Some may even deny it, arguing from themselves.  It all depends, of course, on the attitude we take toward it or the mind on which it falls, and that is in our own hands.  The wind that drifts one sailor on the rocks will send another on his way.  It all depends on how they handle the boat.

So you see, the perplexities of faith are as old as religion itself.  There is a stage when belief in God raises problems instead of solving them.  This is particularly true in the experience of one of the Old Testament stalwarts by the name of Gideon.

Scripture to Claim:

He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21

Devotional Archive