“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?” —Judges 6:13-14
Isn’t that just a great passage!? Lots of bad stuff is happening to Israel and the angel of the Lord appears and tells Gideon to do something about it. Gideon kind of back talks a bit and says, “Hey, now wait a minute. I grew up listening to all the stories about an amazing God that parts the Red Sea and destroys our enemies and how awesome and powerful He is. If He is really with us, why is all this happening?”
And the answer is amazing. Breath-taking. Am I not sending you?
So often I look at this broken, messed up world. From the slums of Nairobi, to the child sex trafficking that happens right in Atlanta, to abused kids like this one, to wars, to the thousands of orphans dying in Africa, to *___|\___|\___|\___|\___|\___|\___|__**__***. Fill in the blank with your tragedy of choice.
I can’t find who originally said this, but I remember reading about someone who wanted to ask God why He wasn’t doing anything about all of this, but he was too afraid that God would ask him the same thing.
Am I not sending you?
For Christians, we don’t have the luxury of asking God why He isn’t doing anything. Because the reality is that we are the Church, we are the hands and feet of Jesus acting in this world. We are the work of God in this world.
It isn’t that God is doing nothing. Far from it. He has given each and every one of us two things: 1) a calling and 2) resources.
Your resources include your time, your passion, you abilities, your intelligence, your heart, your charisma, your everything.
You may think that you don’t have the resources to end world hunger. To save every abused child. To mentor every kid. To end wars. To end famine.
And you’d be right. You don’t have the resources to finish, but God gave you everything you need to start.
We let two lies cloud our judgment and prevent us from doing something good. First, we believe that God needs to do it. Miraculously. Amazingly. The truth is that God has to do it. If He’s not in it, it’s not going to work. The lie is that He does it on His own; instead, most often He works through people. Even all the miracles in Egypt were performed through Moses. All of Jesus’ miracles were performed through Jesus. Whether or not the miracles we accomplish are as weighty or amazing or obvious is not up to us, but God will be working through us, doing things we could not do on our own.
The second lie is that we think we can’t make a difference. It’s true you don’t (today) have the resources to end world hunger. But your job isn’t to lament what you don’t have, it’s to use what you do have the best you can. You can’t end world hunger, but I guarantee you that you have what it takes to keep one person from going hungry. I like the way Andy Stanley puts this, do for one what you wish you could do for all. Start there.
Finally, and to end on a debbie downer note, a warning. Luke 12:48 is one of the scariest verses in the entire Bible. Jesus is just finishing up a parable about three servants that were trusted by their master with a sum of money. Two of the men use their money responsibility and invest it and grow it, the third buries it in his backyard for safe keeping and does nothing with it.
The master returns and sees what this last guy has done and is absolutely furious that he squandered his opportunity. And, in explaining the parable, Jesus gave this very scary warning: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
*Gulp.* You have resources. You may be in the top 1% in the world (chances are, you are), or maybe not. Whether you have the most or least is inconsequentional. You have something. Even if it’s “just” your voice, or your time. You have a responsibility, no matter how large or how small, to do well with everything that God has given you. God has given you something, use it. Don’t squander the opportunity by burying it in the backyard.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. -Proverbs 31:8-9