Friday, June 3, 2011

Judges 6:13

Last night I watched a documentary on the recent group of tornadoes that hit Alabama. Since I live in its neighbor state of Georgia I'm probably more aware of the impact the tornadoes have had down here, but still, I wasn't prepared for the extent of damage I witnessed on TV.

Tornadoes rip through my state almost every year but usually they pass above or below my home and usually they're small...but not this time. This time, instead of maybe just one house damaged on a given road there are whole rows of houses obliterated, demolished, gone. There are hundreds of people with no homes, but even worse, there are some families who lost more than just their home...hundreds of people were killed by the tornadoes.

What do we do in the face of such devastation? What can we say? We can go and help rebuild, we can hug and offer words of comfort, we can donate. And yet, somehow it's not enough. Those families can never be whole again. We can wipe tears away but we can't erase fear or pain. At the end of the day, when there is nothing left to silence our questions, our hearts scream, 'Why!? Why do such terrible things happen?'

We are not the first to ask this question. Probably every generation since Adam has pelted the skies with it. If God is good and He cares about us and He is able to do good, why does He send or even allow terrible things? We are told is our own fault; it is because of sin in the world. We believe it...but still our hearts are not satisfied. There is something missing...

In my Bible reading recently I came across a verse that made my jaw drop, literally. I've been taught all my life that the Bible is relevant to every part of our lives, but until now I didn't realize just how in touch the Bible is with people, what they think and what they feel. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, after all it was written for people, but it still awes me that God...well, you'll see.

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.”
Judges 6:13 (emphasis mine)

Did your jaw drop? There it is, plain as day, the question that has plagued hearts for generations. But where is the answer? I'm getting to that, but first I want to give you some background information.

In this verse Gideon is speaking to the angel of the LORD. The angel came to him while he was threshing wheat in a wine press. Why was he in the wine press? He was hiding the wheat from the marauding Midianites who would regularly raid Israel and steal all their food, including their crops and their animals. So the angel of the LORD comes to Gideon in the wine press and greets him by saying “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” 

Then we get to the verse I posted above where Gideon says something like "Ha! Good joke. If God were with us this wouldn't be happening, would it?" Now...for the good part. :)

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 6:14 (emphasis mine)

It might take a little bit of explaining here from see, lately there seems to be a lot of tough stuff going on in my life; my emotions are all over the place. I've been crying out to God asking basically the same question, 'Why? Why can't my life be smooth? Why do I have to go through this stuff? If You're really here then this shouldn't be happening!' After a lot of tears and struggle I finally learned one of my most valued lessons. Pain is not always discipline for sin; it doesn't always mean something is wrong with us. Sometimes we go through things that seem wrong, that seem like they shouldn't be happening to us, to make us stronger. And not just stronger for the sake of being stronger, stronger so that we can "Go...and deliver..."

For example, my calling and dream is to minister to young girls, encourage and disciple them through the difficult teenage years. But there is no way I can do that unless I have walked where they walk, felt what they feel, and asked the questions they ask.

I'm not completely sure why the 2011 tornadoes came, but I do believe that somehow, something good will come out of it, someone will come out stronger for it and will be able to "Go...and deliver..."

1 comment:

  1. I just read this post and your words were so powerful. I honestly was surprised that there were no comments! Thank you for writing it, it made me think about my spiritual walk with the Lord. Although I'm not going through any hardships right now, I don't feel like I'm as close to the Lord as I should be. What you wrote was so full of wisdom. You seem so close to the Lord, and I want to be closer to Him too. Could you please pray that I will not just want to be closer to Him but that I will desire to be closer to HIm? I'm just not feeling a burning passion in my heart for Him like I want to. Thank you for all your words of wisdom and encouraging things you put on your blog Jenna.