And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. - Judges 6:11-13
I'm so glad the pages of the Bible are not full of the stories of perfect people with unwavering faith and constant good attitudes. I'm thankful for the cries of David, the temper tantrum of Elijah and the hint of "Yeah, right!" from Gideon. And the reason I'm glad is because I can relate. I've had conversations just like this one.
Gideon's question was valid, "If God is with us, then why is this happening?" My questions are valid too.
If God is the Great Physician, then why am I still suffering from chronic illness?
If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, why do I have to pinch pennies to make it from paycheck to paycheck?
If God answers prayer, then why don't I have the thing for which I've been praying for years?
If God. . ., then why. . .?
Sound familiar? The good news is that God is not offended by our questions. Despite Gideon's lack of faith, God was patient and kind to him, just as He is with us. However, our questions can lead to a problem on our behalf in that they can deepen our unbelief. If we're not careful, our questions can quickly become accusations. "God, why aren't you taking care of me?" "Lord, what happened to all that faithfulness you're supposed to possess?" Do you see the turn?
The truth is, we'll never understand why God does the things He does and doesn't do the things He doesn't. On this side of Heaven, we'll never really have an answer to "If God, then why?" It makes no sense to our finite minds why God would not act when He could. Why doesn't He heal? Why doesn't He spread the wealth out among His children? Why doesn't He give us the things we ask for? I don't know. You don't know. Only God knows, but you know what? That's enough.
Instead of dwelling on what we don't know, how about we spend time thinking about what we do? We know that all things work together for our good and God's glory (Romans 8:28). We know that God has great plans for us, and those plans involve our good, not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). We know that God can and will deliver us though not always in the ways we expect (Psalm 34:4). We know that God answers every prayer though not always in the affirmative (Jeremiah 33:3). In short, we know enough about God to understand that if He's not doing something our way, there must be a good reason.
So, hold tight. God is up to something. It may not be what you thought or expected, but you can rest assured that it's better than you could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).