Why hast thou forsaken me?
It’s easy to be a Christian, believer, follower of Christ, person of faith...when everything is going great. You can casually ask a Christian how they’re doing, and you’ll get, “I’m blessed and highly favored!” or “God is good!” or “My cup overfloweth!” And, all you really wanted was for them to say, “I’m good. How are you?”
Well, sometimes you’re not good. But if you admit that, then either you’re not operating by faith, or you’re letting the devil steal your joy, or you need to spend more time in the Word. Because if you’re feeling bad or doing poorly or suffering in any way, well, it must be your fault.
So, you try to suck it up and put on a brave face in the face of adversity. You try to hold on tight to your faith. But, sometimes you can’t stop the tears from flowing. You can’t stop the anxiety from building up in your chest. And, there’s nowhere to turn because everywhere you might turn for comfort will hit you with the same response.
Instead of, “I’m so sorry. I’m here for you. You’re justified in your feelings,” you’ll get, “Relax. It’s out of your control. Put it in God’s hands. Pray!”
Either you get that, or you get nothing. Silence. You’re on your own to figure out your own emotions.
You’re frustrated with God at the moment, and trying not to be angry. But you’re angry! You’re angry at everybody. But, you’re left to deal with that...alone.
In today’s chapters, we met a man named Gideon. He was chosen by the Lord to fight a great battle in which he would surely be outmatched. The Lord assured him that He would be right there in battle with him. But, Gideon was unsure.
You see, in Gideon’s eyes, God had allowed Israel to fall upon hard times. They were battered and bruised by their enemies. Things had gotten so bad that Gideon had to hide food so that it wouldn’t be stolen by their enemies. So Gideon asked,
"Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian."
The only thing Gideon knew was that the God of his fathers had forsaken them. But, he didn't know why. Some of us never think to ask why. We just feel so alone. We feel forgotten. We feel forsaken. But others of us are brave enough to ask God, "How could You let this happen?"
In your anger, you’re tempted to just throw in the towel. Forget everything! It’s too hard to hold onto your faith. It’s much easier to throw it into the trash like some childhood piece of garbage you were tricked into believing.
God loses a lot of us this way. He probably lost a lot of ancient Israelites that way, too. But, it wasn’t His fault then, and it's not His fault now.
That’s not easy for me to say right now. I’m having my own moments of doubt lately. I feel so alone in my own anguish. I put on a happy face so that everyone around me can know that all is well...even when it’s not. I pretend to be happy because I feel like it’s my fault when I’m not.
But, Gideon taught me something today. Even though he felt like God had forsaken him, he was able to recover from that, and gain victory in battle. Even Jesus asked, from the Cross, why God had forsaken Him. Then, He was resurrected.
This tells me that it’s okay to ask the question. It’s okay to go to God with our anguish. He doesn’t need for us to fake our faith. We don’t have to suffer in silence. We don’t have to hide our pain.
We can take it to the throne of Grace. And, the Lord will embrace us and carry us through whatever battles we face. He knows our hearts, and is fully capable of handling our tears...even when no one else can.
The Lord is ready to respond to our "why" questions. But, we have to be ready to hear the answers. We have to be ready to tear down the idols in our lives, like Gideon had to do. We have to be willing to follow God’s directions to the letter when entering into these battles, like Gideon did.
Being a believer isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s not meant to go smoothly all the time. And, through my own angry tears, I still rely upon Him because He’s the only one who can wipe them away and make everything okay.
Check out OMG I'm so sorry! for the follow-up to this post. It's a doozy!
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