It’s a stressful time.
Jeopardy has no host, back to school anxiety, pandemic fear, economic upheaval, foreign strife…there are plenty of things that dominate the headlines.
How does that leave us feeling?
Weak, helpless, out of control, exhausted, burnt up, burnt out and generally angry…miserable and anxious?
We need an escape. We need a hero. We need a savior.
Now this is going to sound flippant, so I want to hear me out.
Christ came, and changed everything. And then He left.
Not in the “you are on your own” sort of way, but in the “I am getting heaven ready for you” sort of way.
Not encouraging? Not feeling energized. Let me tell you about Gideon. You find his account in the Old Testament, in the early stories of the Judges . The people of Israel are being chased into the mountains. Raiders are coming and taking all they have, leaving them barely enough to survive. At the start of the story, Gideon is hiding in a winepress, trying to thresh some wheat in secret. The angel of the Lord appears and greats him with these words: ““The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Gideon’s answer is one of disbelief and skepticism: ““Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
In essence what Gideon says is “Hey, if the Lord really cares, why are we suffering? Clearly, God is making us suffer. We clearly are not mighty, so why bother?”
God moves right past Gideon’s complaint. He does not need to justify himself to Gideon. Much as a parent does not need to explain decisions to a young child. In the same way, He does not get angry or scold him. He does not punish Gideon for his insolence and attitude.
God’s response is telling: “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
God says go. You have the strength you need. GO. Live, make the change. You have everything you need because we started with “The Lord is with you.”
Gideon doesn’t believe it any more than we do at times. Gideon claims weakness. He can’t.
God’s reply is simple reminder: “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
God has the same conversation with us. Go, live, baptize and teach.
“But God, it’s rough. I hurt. I’m weak, I’m afraid……life stinks.”
And God speaks encouragement to you to; through His Word, in His Sacraments. All easily found in His Church.
Today may be rough. You may feel weak. You may feel helpless. You may be angry.
Why; because God is with you today. He will be with you tomorrow. He will be with you forever.
And so I pray with you this old blessing
As you go on your way may God go with you.
May He go before you to show you the way.
May he go behind you to encourage you along.
Beside you to befriend you.
Above you to watch over you.
And within you to give you peace.
Go with God my friends.