by | May 24, 2004 | God's Love, Grief, Lonliness

Judges 6:13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”

I only once saw my Dad cry. It was a couple of days after New Year in 1971. My mother had just been taken into hospital again, suffering from terrible hallucinations and hearing satanic voices in her head. Unknown to us, she had been flushing her medications down the toilet all during the Christmas holidays and it finally caught up with her. When her schizophrenic attack came, it was a violent and terrifying experience. My Dad barely had time to call an ambulance and she openly resisted the paramedics, fighting with them furiously as they tried to constrain her in the street. Her hysterical screams and frantic cursing were heard and seen by all our neighbors, who watched everything from behind the safety of their windows.

When my Dad came home from the hospital later that night, he sunk into his armchair completely exhausted and totally defeated by life. He covered his face with his hands and as my sister and I watched, he started to cry.

“Why? Why? Why has all this happened to us?” He asked as he wept. None of us could answer. We could only embrace and weep with him.

Gideon asks the same question of the angel of the Lord who comes to visit him. He feels let down, deeply disappointed and forsaken by God. His people are fighting for survival and there seems to be no hope, so when this angel appears, Gideon isn’t prepared to listen to God’s message. “Why?” He asks, “why has all this happened to us?”

We all go through times like that. Life isn’t always fair; the hardships we experience and endure seem to overwhelm us. At this time of year, when everyone is jolly and full of hope, to those who are suffering loss or grief, heartache or fear, it can appear as though God has abandoned them.

But that’s when faith kicks in and our dependence upon God becomes real. Like Gideon, like my family, like so many people around the world today, when our strength has diminished and our energy is gone, we depend upon God to lead us through the worst and bring us to His best. That’s when Christ offers to us His great invitation:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You knew all about suffering and loneliness, helplessness and fear, pain and weeping. You could have shielded Yourself from all those things, but You chose to experience them in order to know the despair, grief and burden of humanity. Only through the bitterness of human tears, could You bring us to the sweetness of God’s love. Only through the broken ways of pain, could You bring us to the healing path of God’s peace. In Your Holy Name, we rest and pray. Amen.

John Stuart traqair@aol.com
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA