Gideon was quietly threshing wheat in the winepress, trying very hard to hide from the Midianites. For in those times, the Lord had given Israel into the hand of Midian for 7 years, for they did evil in the sight of God. Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites. And so it was, while Gideon was doing his work, an Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree, and saluted Gideon thus, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
And Gideon was quick to answer 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 Lordbring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (See Judges 6).
Subconsciously, I have been echoing Gideon’s question over and over these many years. I had not dared ask it straight before the Lord in prayer, or uttered it to the elders of our Church, or to any brother or sister in Christ. It is a silent question somewhere deep in my mind that begs to be answered nonetheless.
Gideon asked, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles…?”
In season of great physical suffering coupled with fear that makes the heart tremble, I had asked his question in varying forms. During those hard times, when a preacher or a brother or sister in Christ testifies and tells of the goodness of the Lord, of His unfailing love, His promises, and His miracles that He has wrought in His Church, questions automatically hover over my mind. Often, I do not give it any moment of attention, but it’s there. Silent, nevertheless, it has power to diminish one’s faith and courage. Today, I’m addressing it for the first time.
In the midst of great trials, these questions come automatically:
If God is always good, why doesn’t He take away my suffering?
If God loves me so much, why does He let me endure this? Why do I feel His severity instead, like He’s punishing me rather than loving me?
If the Lord is with me, why doesn’t He do something about my suffering? Why does He let me experience over and over this kind of terror?
If God promised healing, why is it so long coming? What is He waiting for?
Where are His miracles in my life that beloved brethren in Church testify about? If He is with me, why doesn’t He perform them also to me?
And so on.
Remember, I never ask them consciously or even audibly. They just come whenever I’m confronted with a salutation like the angel’s before Gideon and I see the opposite happening in my life. I always try to cover them up with more prayers, praise and thanksgiving. Instead of voicing them out, I choose to honor God.
And I know that this is the way of our faith: to honor and worship God in and out of trials and hardships.
Gideon hastened to prepare his offering: the meat and broth of a young goat he slaughtered and unleavened bread. In the midst of sheer poverty and hardship, Gideon didn’t skimp to honor God with his offering.
Whatever kind of “poverty” we may be going through right now: spiritual, physical (poor health or any disability), financial – I believe there is always something that we can honor God with in our lives.
After asking his question, which, by the way, is a form of doubt, the Lord answered Gideon, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (Emphasis mine).
Gideon doubted his capability, but the Lord answered him again, “Surely I will be with you…”
These, again, are promises. But shall we stay in that place of doubt, discouragement, helplessness, and inactivity? If, in ways we sometimes don’t understand, the Lord is pulling us up off the ground where we are slumped, shall we not receive His proffered hand and let Him lift us up yet again?
Just like Gideon who, in the end, accepted God’s commission to save Israel from the hands of her enemies, we shall also continue to walk with our Savior and do that what we are called to do.
Has He not sent us?
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Journey with Jesus,