So, let’s say you’ve become a Christian. Jesus is your bestest best friend and you’re just overflowing with all the blessings in your life. Life is all puppies and rainbows from here on out, right?
Even with God on our side, life is going to have rough patches. When we have fears and struggles and doubts, it’s so easy to feel like bad Christian. If you really loved God, you wouldn’t have these feelings! And if you did, you’d just ignore them and push on through without batting an eye, right?
I recently finished reading Judges, and Gideon’s story stuck with me. God appears to Gideon in Judges 6 and tells him he’s going to lead an army to defeat the bad guys, the Midianites.
But Gideon’s not sure about all this. He has some pretty tough questions for God, and he comes right out with them:
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Gideon is pretty blunt here. He comes right out and accuses God of abandoning his people. An angry god would’ve condemned Gideon or struck him down for his boldness. But our God takes the time to both address his accusations and reassure him about his ability to lead the army to victory.
But Gideon still isn’t sure. What if this wasn’t really God? What if he had been out in the sun too long and was going a little bonkers? So he asks God for a sign that it was really him and that he would really lead his army to victory — not once, not twice, but three times! (See Judges 6:17-22, Judges 6:36-38, and Judges 6:39-40.)
And God did exactly as he asked. Three times. This blew me away.
I have a tendency to think I’m inconveniencing God with my prayers, especially when they’re about problems that seem trivial in the grand scheme of things. But God took the time to prove to Gideon three times that he was real and had set a plan in motion — a plan that needed Gideon to succeed. God’s patience in the face of Gideon’s criticism and fear is revolutionary for my own feelings of inadequacy.
It’s ok to have questions. We might feel like quitting, but God doesn’t quit on us. And if we ask him, he’ll sit patiently with us and help us work through whatever’s on our minds. He wants to be real with us, if we’ll commit to being real with him.
So that thing that’s been sitting on your heart, weighing you down? Ask away.