One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Gideon starting in Judges chapter 6. The beginning of the story gets my attention today. The nation has been overrun by the Midianites and all of Israel is in hiding. Gideon is hiding in his wine press, trying to thresh wheat in there to keep it from the enemy. Basically, he’s working from home 😊. An angel of the Lord comes to him and says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon’s response is classic, and maybe something we’re all thinking. Gideon says to the angel. “But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has cast us of and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Gideon is honest. He’s fearful and feeling unsafe and he’s wondering where God is. Where is God while he’s trying to thresh wheat in a wine press? Where’s God when we’re trying to be work from home? Where’s God when the schools are closed? Where’s God when jobs are lost and the money we had to live on disappears? Where’s God when the church can’t even gather to worship? Gideon’s question “Why has all this happened to us?” is on the lips of so many these days.
We don’t know why the coronavirus has happened to us, not ultimately. We can trace it back to a strange animal in an unclean market in a foreign country, but that doesn’t answer our questions. What we really want to know is why are we suffering, how long will it last, how bad will it get, and why doesn’t God do something about it.
I can’t answer all those questions, but the angel’s greeting to Gideon is a good place to start. First of all, the Lord is with us in this. I’ve seen so much evidence of this, it’s mind blowing. Our first online worship service received over 1000 views as people shared with friends and family. People who haven’t been able to attend church in years, or stopped coming for other reasons expressed great appreciation for hearing God’s word. Those who have volunteered to make phone calls to fellow members to check in are sharing amazing serendipitous moments of connection. The Lord is with and will be throughout the entirety of this experience.
I also like the angel’s declaration to Gideon who is hiding in the wine press. The Lord is with you MIGHTY WARRIOR. I’m sure Gideon didn’t feel mighty and he certainly wasn’t much of a warrior. But God believed in him, saw in him something He didn’t see in himself. I believe the church is a mighty warrior too, and each of you are part of that. Our battle is against invisible enemies. A virus. But also against fear, despair, selfishness, and isolation. There are more things that will come against us in the weeks to come, but God is with us and is stronger than anything that threatens us.
Read the rest of the story of Gideon and see how the Lord teaches him to trust in God. May we learn the same trust and reliance during our hour of need.
The Lord is with you mighty warriors,