Last week I talked about Gideon’s “Ifs.” Here’s another one, but with a twist.
Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, IF the LORD is with us, WHY then has all this happened to us? And WHERE are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’” (Judges 6:13 NASB, emphasis added).
My clients often get stuck on the questions “Why?” and “Where?” Why did God allow the abuse? Why didn’t He rescue me? Why doesn’t He care about me? Where was He when it happened? Why didn’t He stop it?
And God seems to remain silent. He knows that answering the why and where questions won’t satisfy the heart because He knows what emotion or pain lies behind them.
When Gideon asks the why question, God does not answer him. Instead God replies: Go in this your might and you shall save Israel . . . Have I not sent you? (14)
In the next verse, Gideon responds with another question: HOW can I deliver Israel when I’m the least of the least?
Again, God doesn’t directly respond to this reasoning.
The problem is, when we ask the wrong questions, we often come to wrong conclusions and make false assumptions and accusations.
Gideon concludes: But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian (13).
When I’m attacked, falsely accused, demanded an answer of, my tendency is to go on the defense, attack back, or try to justify my actions. A better choice is to sidestep and find out what the other person is feeling. God knew that Gideon was feeling fear. Answering his questions wouldn’t satisfy his heart, because those weren’t the right questions. Twice, God sidesteps the questions and answers, “I am the solution, your answer, your source of power and strength” (14, 16).
Next time you’re tempted to ask God why or where, try asking instead: How do I feel that . . . God allowed the abuse, didn’t answer my prayer, it seemed He wasn’t there, etc.? And then be willing to listen for God’s satisfying answer to your pain.
On a side note, after the pain is gone, sometimes God does indeed answer the client’s WHY questions. I’ve heard answers from Him such as, “Are you willing to let Me use this pain to minister to others?” and “I gave all men choices, and I won’t violate their will; neither will I violate yours.” And the WHERE? He always answers, “I was there with you, feeling your pain.”
What questions do you ask when you’re in pain?