My friend Brandon and I are in leadership at my church. Once some members came to us and said that they had some problems with the way we were doing things; so they wanted to talk with us about it. Brandon, who is a captain in the Army, responded quickly and firmly, “Don’t just come with the problems, come with the solutions!” To their credit, they did.
I just read this amazing episode in the book of Judges in the Bible. In chapter 6, we read that the Israelites were getting hammered by the Midianites. An angel of the Lord appears to a guy named Gideon in order to encourage him. But Gideon gives a response that often echoes in all of our hearts, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).
We first need to take time to allow his honest question the right to search our hearts. His is a question that grows within us all, like a wall that eventually blocks our view of God. We wonder what God is doing about our pain, about the suffering in this world, about the trials we’re enduring. “Why has all this happened to us?” Give yourself the freedom of owning that question for yourself.
Then God responded to Gideon most unexpectedly, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Judges 6:14). The wonder of this exchange is breathtaking. Basically, Gideon tries to shove the blame onto God, but then God gives the opportunity to Gideon. Gideon wants to know “why?” and God answers with “how.” God wants to make a warrior out of Gideon.
We assume that the problem is God’s, but God lets us know that the answer is ours. But we’re not to worry, for God will be with us. “And the Lord turned to him and said, ‘But I will be with you.’” (Judges 6:16). This passage opened my eyes to a brilliant truth and I hope it does the same for you. When I am bemoaning, “Why has all this happened to me?” God gently reminds me, “Don’t forget, you can do something about this, too, you know.”
Instead of bemoaning God’s seeming lack of involvement, go yourself and get to work on the situation. Pray the whole time, “God, be with me as I go, walk me through this.” Be like young David hunting down the giant with only a sling shot and a prayer.
We are so weak, self-centered, and childish. We force solutions on God that we are capable of achieving with his help. Do you realize that? When I am busy ranting to God about how life is turning out, he turns to me and says, “Why don’t you get up off your big, fat couch and get to work? Did you forget that you can do amazing things with my help?”
May we get off the bench and get into the game, where he can best coach us. Take an inventory of your present grudge list, the one you use against God, if you know what I mean. Look at that list and see each item as opportunities that you could accomplish. God says to us, “You go in this might of yours and save the situation; do I not send you?” We come to God with our problems, but he says to us, “Don’t just come with problems, but also with solutions.” We forget how capable we are, with God’s help.
Nonetheless, there are situations that are way out of our control or power zone. But we’re not off the hook, yet. When it seems like there is absolutely nothing for you to do, there is an artillery of special significance. This artillery is prayer and fasting. Doing these two things are the missiles that will send the enemy sinking, that will call down the fire from Heaven, that will enlist the Most High God in your battle. Never shrug your shoulders and say that you can do nothing. Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), get into the battle, and pray.
Rethink your troubles, for you are capable of much more than you realize. The answer to your prayer might be that God wants to make a warrior out of you.
© Samuel Kee, 2012