“Sir,” Gideon replied, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” – Judges 6:13
It is probably the most asked question about God today, or any other day, for that matter. If God is with us, why have all these bad things happened to us? If God is with us, why do children suffer? Why do natural disasters like earthquakes kill thousands of innocent people? If God is with us, why are we being terrorized by terrorists? If God is with us, why is there so much evil in the world? Not to mention the personal side: If God is with me why did I lose my job?
Gideon asks this question after the angel found him hiding in the winepress, threshing wheat for flour, while Israel’s enemies lie in wait, 120,000 strong. The angel had just called out to Gideon, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” when Gideon replied, in a cynical tone, “Sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
“And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?” he went on. “Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
Does any of this sound at all familiar? As those who believe the Lord is with us, don’t we still feel abandoned? Don’t we sometimes feel as if we’ve been handed over to the enemy? Our questions might be a little different, but the idea behind them will be the same. “If the Lord is with us, why has [add you own words here] happened to us?” Which means the answer the angel gave Gideon might apply to us, too, and that’s where it gets interesting. The angel’s answer is at best obtuse to the questions.
“Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’”
The Lord pretty much ignored his questions, instead, he enlisted Gideon as the answer to his own questions! This is truly profound and not to be missed: God called Gideon out to be the answer to his complaints about God. God called Gideon out to be the answer to all his blaming and his excuses. God called out Gideon to be the answer to his own objections. God called out Gideon to be the the answer to his own fear.
Well that would make Gideon out to be some kind of superhero wouldn’t it? God sure knows what He is doing here. He is setting Gideon up for something he has no strength or ability to do because He is intending to be Gideon’s strength and ability. Gideon cannot be the answer to any of these things by himself. Not even close. That’s why the angel said, “Go in the strength you have,” which, in Gideon’s case, would have meant nothing, and he would have been the first one to know that. Remember Gideon was the least in his family, from the weakest clan, and he was hiding when the angel found him. Go in the strength you have? Well that’s easy; that’s no strength at all.
But “Go in the strength you have,” was also prophetic. Soon Gideon would realize that the strength he had was stronger than the whole Midianite army put together, because it would be the strength of the Lord.
This is the process God puts us all through, even those who are relatively strong, because we all — weak and strong — have to be reduced to nothing before He can use us, lest we confuse our strength with His.
So Gideon is about to make an amazing discovery. He is about to find out that he is not only the answer to all his questions and objections to God, but he is also going to be the miracle that he previously only heard about in stories. “And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?” Get ready, Gideon, you are about be one of those miracles for future generations like us.
Look in the mirror, Gideon. YOU ARE THE MIRACLE. The miracle is coming alive in you.
And you, as you read this, and me, as I write it — are we any different? No, not at all. We are the miracles we’ve only heard about until now. We are all miracles ready to happen.
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