“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’
“‘But sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?’”
I love this encounter Gideon has with the angel. I love Gideon’s response, too, because it is exactly like mine: “Oh, yeah, God. If you love me so much, why did You let this happen?” I don’t think I’m alone in asking “Why?” In fact, the whole book of Job is dedicated to that one word: Why?
God has a long history of not answering our questions directly. When Abram asked God some very basic questions (Genesis 15:2–7), God replied by reminding Abram of what He had done in the past and what He was planning to do in Abram’s future. When Moses asked, “Hey, God, what about…?” God replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:12–14). When Job got his chance to encounter God, he didn’t hear what we would think of as a direct answer. Instead he heard about God, His creation, and His power—what He has done.
In response to Gideon’s honest question, God responded by saying twice that He would be with Gideon. After I meditated on this for several days, I was really comforted to know that God was with me, even though I could not see Him clearly as a child. I also meditated on what He had done for me in the past. Although for many years the evil I had encountered completely overshadowed any of God’s kindnesses in my mind, I finally became aware of the places in my life where God had been, despite the evil. I understood that His presence had been with me, keeping the evil in check and talking to me during suicidal days.
God always describes Himself in terms of what He is like and what He does. And that is all the answer we may ever get on Earth.
When I asked God, “Why did You let my abuser hurt me?” God led me to understand the nature of His mercy. Not only has He demonstrated His mercy to me but also to my abuser. I saw very clearly that God, all those years, was trying to give this person chances to change and come to Him and become a clean person. Paul, an angry, legalistic murderer who tore homes apart and threw both men and women into jail before he found Christ, asserts about his life that he was “shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15–16).
This seems totally unfair to me, but it is the nature of God’s love and mercy. Of course, when I think about my own sins, faults, and shortcomings, I want God’s mercy. I want Him to give me second chances. And what I want for myself, I have to allow God to give to my abuser, too.
What are your questions? What would you like to ask God? Please make a list of your questions. He is not intimidated by them, and I hope you are cheered by the fact that He always gave Abram, Moses, Job, and Gideon an answer. May you come to know Him better as He tells you who He is, what He has done in your life, and what He would like to do.
This a page from the book When God Roared. Each page will be published, one per day, on this website. We pray that God uses it mightily in your life to swaddle you in His love and heal your precious heart.