a guest post from Renee Swope
Do you ever ask God why life has to be so hard? Why certain things happen, all in the same week?
I remember asking God lots of questions during what I call my “year of impossible.” A month after we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia, my mom was hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms, my dad had emergency quadruple bypass surgery, I had an abnormal mammogram that led to multiple biopsies and a close friend died of breast cancer – all within six months.
I remember thinking: “Why has all this happened? Why does life have to be so hard?
Can I be honest? When life is overwhelming, I sometimes feel abandoned and wonder where God is and why He isn’t helping me. And I have a feeling Gideon, a man who was called by God but overwhelmed by his circumstances, felt the same way after all he had been through with his enemies, the Midianites.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Listen to how Gideon responded with lots of doubts and questions: “Pardon me, my lord…but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judg. 6:11–13)
So how did God answer Gideon’s questions? “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” (Judg. 6:14).
God didn’t answer Gideon’s “why” question. Instead God told him what role He was calling Gideon to play in what HE was about to do next.
I’m learning to embrace my unanswered “why is life so hard” questions, and recognize when life is hard I am more likely to ask for God’s help. And that is a good thing.
Tough times often precipitate movement toward God and help us depend on Him more than on ourselves.
God used Gideon’s “why” question to draw Gideon closer to Himself, by shifting Gideon’s focus from hard things that happened in his past to what God was about to do in his future. Sometimes God answers our prayers by calling us to be part of the solution to our problems.
Instead of changing our circumstances, often God uses our circumstances to change us by bringing us closer to Him, making us more like Him, and helping us find our confidence in Him!
Jesus, I get frustrated when life is hard and troubles abound. Yet I don’t want frustration to push me away from You. If my circumstances can’t change, use them to change me – by bringing me closer to You, making me more like You, and helping me find my confidence in You through the circumstances I’m in. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
When I say… My life is too hard.
God says… I am with you in the middle of these trials. I will not leave you or forsake you.
I will be with [you] in trouble, I will deliver [you] and honor [you]. (Ps. 91:15)
The winner is Jenni G!!! Congratulations! I am emailing you now!