Letting Go of the “Why” …
Judges 6:11-16, 25-32
The book of Judges tells us that Israel’s military commander, Barak, was afraid to obey God and go to war. He asked Deborah (a judge and prophetess the Israelites looked to for leadership) to go with him. Her reply was, “Okay but remember…you won’t get the credit…a woman will.” (Some things never change.)
It turns out it wasn’t Deborah who killed the enemy commander, Sisera. It was another woman, Jael. In the day, it was up to women to erect the family tent, so driving a stake into the earth was second nature. When Sisera fled to Jael’s tent, she gave him a drink to help him sleep and drove a tent stake into his temple. Gory.
The Israelites won an inconceivable victory. As always, the credit belongs to God…He went before His people and confused the enemy. He caused their 900 chariots (which were not just chariots but had been developed into effective military machines) to get stuck in the mud by a torrential rain. Out of desperation the enemy’s leader, Sisera, jumped out of his stalled chariot and ran to Mrs. Jael’s place…bad mistake.
I can see why Barak was afraid to take the battle on. He was very aware of the power of his enemy. No one wanted to go up against them. Yet…God went before Barak and his army and did something so seemingly simple as confusing the enemy and causing it to rain.
How simple it is for God to intervene for us.
Still…how often we flail desperately about in fear.
Watchman Nee said the following… “When you cease doing, then God will begin. Have you ever tried to save a drowning man? The trouble is that his fear prevents him trusting himself to you. When that is so, there are just two ways of going about it. Either you must knock him unconscious and then drag him to the shore, or else you must leave him to struggle and shout until his strength gives way before you go to his rescue. If you try to save him while he has any strength left, he will clutch at you in his terror and drag you under, and both he and you will be lost. God is waiting for your store of strength to be utterly exhausted before he can deliver you. Once you have ceased to struggle, he will do everything. God is waiting for you to despair.”
In my lifetime, our family has done some significant despairing and for good reason. Still…God has always…always made a way! Interestingly, though we wanted so badly to know, I cannot remember a time when He satisfied our desperate “Why?”. It is the why that so often stalls us. It is there we can easily become embittered and stay hopelessly trapped.
Over and over we have had to choose to let the why’s go. I still come back to the questions from time to time, but the questions simply rob me of my peace.
1 Peter 5:6-8 (ESV) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Demanding answers from God holds a certain arrogance…a lack of humility. God doesn’t respond well to arrogance. Remember Job’s questions and God’s answers? Reading this passage always makes me laugh with delight and awe. I see myself in Job and somehow it is delightful to see such an unusually clear picture of God’s way of cutting past our arrogance and self-pity.
Read the full chapter, I have copied just a small portion here:
Job 38:1-7 (ESV) 1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? …
Because I have seen His loving faithfulness, I can trust Him with the unanswered questions a little more quickly these days. I wish it were more (instead of “a little more”) but compared to where I started, perhaps this is good progress!
How glad I am not to feel quite as obligated to thrash about trying to answer questions that don’t belong to me. Like a child who can leave the hard stuff to his parent…
I am thankful to leave my hard stuff in the capable hands of our Might God…