Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Why Has This All Happened To Us?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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

From Gideon’s response to the angel of the Lord you would think that he was living in 2020. Many of us have been asking the Lord the same thing, maybe in a different way.

Where is God when we Need Him?

When the messenger of God came to Gideon, he saluted him with the words from Judges 6:13, Oh my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  His immediate reply seems a bit contemptuous. The Lord is 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 happened to us?

How often has the cry of Gideon been heard from the depths of suffering and pain?  So often we cannot understand what is going on in the midst of trials. We know what we believe about God but then it feels like He has forgotten us or is just leaving us to suffer alone. It is not that we don't believe in God and his infinite love.  It is just that we cannot fit the two together, and they do not make sense. Like Gideon we feel, If the Lord is with us, why then has this happened to me?

This year has had its fill of trials. People are tired of life being upended and it seems to keep happening.  We wonder exactly where God is in the midst of all this. If He loves us, if He cares, how could this all happen? 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. But can any of this apply to 2020? This year seems to have broken all the rules. 

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, and it may be true for some in 2020. But God is God, no matter what year and what circumstances come. He is faithful and true. We must hold to this belief and cling to the promises we know, even when we find ourselves asking "Why has all this happened to us?"

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