Monday, August 26, 2013

Same Question - Different Attitude

There are a couple of passages that really bothered me for a long time because they contained similar questions which brought about very different responses by God. Both of the questions  are in some way asking, where is God? That's actually a question I have asked many times. If God is near why has all this happened? Why am I suffering? Why doesn't it seem like He's answering my cries? Those questions usually pop up on long, dark nights when my son is having some sort of issue that it appears God does not care about.

I hate to tell you (assuming you've asked similar questions at least once), but others have already had the same question go through their minds - we're not original at all! Finding people in the Bible who've asked similar questions is not difficult at all really. (Check out Psalm 13) But in Exodus 17 and Judges 6 the same question came up. The children of Israel asked Moses, Is God with us or not? It says that they tested God by asking if He was still with them. This was clearly unacceptable to God.

But Gideon asked a similar question in Judges 6 when the angel appeared to him. His response to the angel's statement - "The Lord is with you, mighty man of strength" was not an argument about whether he was a mighty warrior or not - remember he's hiding out at night from the Midianites that he's soon to defeat. His argument was, If God is with us, why has all this happened to us?  The angel's response was not one of anger - he simply told Gideon to go in this your strength. This seems to indicate to me that his question was full of strength - but why?

It is my opinion that the two similar questions were rooted in very different attitudes. The Children of Israel were grumbling and complaining and arguing with/about God's presence. They were discontent and probably lazy to boot! Gideon's question seems to be rooted in the fact that he was still looking for God - but felt like He left them.  God's different responses in the two similar situations seem to be because of why and how  the question was asked. It seems that questioning where God is is okay if we are still looking for Him.


It's all about attitude. Today I will meditate on how present God is even in suffering. Even though my world has changed and I can feel abandoned at times, I'll ask where God went - as I keep my eyes on Who He is. I'll not demand that He makes changes in my life or situation (not that that has ever helped!), but I'll let my soul quietly search for Him and His peace today. Will you join me?





Friday, August 23, 2013

Out of Context

Did you ever feel like your whole life was "out of context" with the rest of the world? Don't take me wrong - I'm okay with where I am (right now) - but sometimes I watch everyone else is this highly socialized world talk about going to do this and going to do this while I feel I am captive in my own house. The absence of a real social life can be very draining; but we cope; in our own out of context ways!

I thought about being out of context as I was reading Psalm 22 today. We almost always hear verse 3 separated out from the previous verses. Pastors and song leaders use verse three to try and get us to "worship" and invite God's presence in -- but isn't He already here? They tell us He is "enthroned on praise" and that is true - but it's the praise our broken lives gives birth to if you look a the first two verses. Actually, we only hear verse one on Easter - My God, My God why have you forsaken me?  But when have we ever put these scriptures together? The first two verses are the psalmist crying out and feeling separated from his God. the next couple it seems he's trying to remind himself who and where God is. Have you ever felt separated from God? We know we are not -- but it can certainly feel like it sometimes.

The rest of Psalm 22 is like the first few verses. David cries out from his fear, abandonment, trouble, and helplessness. And then he will remind himself once again of God's faithfulness, strength and presence. Sound familiar? -- it sure does to me!! (It's okay - I'm used to being alone! lol)

In the culture of the church we've not been allowed to express our feelings of hopelessness, despair, helplessness or fear. But I think this psalm is a good reminder that it is quite alright to be honest about our feelings; and then try to find God in them - rather than separate from them. How will I know I need His peace if I do not admit mine is gone? How do I run to Him as a fortress if I never acknowledge there is a battle?

It's okay to see our own wretched state -- and bring it to Him with a clean, open, and honest heart. Today I will remind myself that He is close to me in the lowly situation -- He is my fortress because there is  a battle - and He is my strength because I am weak....

If you come looking for me - I'll be running to Him. Care to join me?