And so much heartbreak.
It's easy to get paralyzed, isn't it? When I think about all ways in which diseases like ALS and cancer devastate lives, all the hurricanes and earthquakes that strike unsuspecting masses, all the wars, all the persecution...it's just overwhelming.
The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior." Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?"
- Judges 6:12-13a (NASB)
But this time, I was struck by his first encounter with God, the moment when he realized the Lord wanted him to take action. I had never noticed this before. So a messenger (angel) of God appears from heaven and addresses him in a strange way. For one thing, he calls him a valiant warrior even though Gideon has likely never even been in a fight. But the thing that strikes Gideon in not that; it's that the angel says, "The LORD is with you."
And Gideon thinks, Huh???
He sees no evidence of that at all. Read Judges 6:1-14. God'e people Israel have not been experiencing the Lord's blessings for quite some time. Their land was being taken, their livestock was gone and they were barely surviving. So, in the Hebrew mindset, God could not possibly be with them. He was gone.
The angel tells Gideon, No, he is with you. And Gideon responds like the rest of us: If so, why are all these bad things happening and where are God's miracles we read about in the Scriptures?
So the angel answers all Gideon's questions and lays out a detailed theological treatise of the problem of evil and how God is present in suffering and we just have to.................
Instead, he just says, GO!
Go, do something about it. Haven't I sent you?
It would be easy for me to sit around and main about all the evil and suffering in the world, in the live of those I love, and even at times in my own life. Lord, why has this happened to us? Why do you allow your creation to be like this? But as I read this passage, I heard God's answer. The same way he answered Moses, and Gideon, and Isaiah...all the way up to Jesus' final words to his disciples:
No excuses, just do it.
I don't know why. I don't know how it fits into his plan for creation? I don't know a lot of things.
But I can go. I can do something about it. I can give...I can just be there for someone...I can listen...I can comfort...I can work...I can share the gospel...
I can go. I can be. I can love.
And God says, Just do it.