The yellow light slants in the western windows, falling onto the backs of the heads of the tenors, throwing long shadows onto the brown benches. The basses, altos and sopranos circle up the stairs, their shirts and dresses blocks of color behind sheet music. The director stands in the middle, his elbows bobbing out the rhythm as his fingers play the choir like a virtual keyboard.
We are not alone…God is with us….ever and ever, we are never alone!
We who tomorrow will be clerks, business owners, cooks, students, farmers, welders, nurses, and grandmas, are for this moment, just one: the body of Christ standing in a loose circle, trying to pry our eyes out of our music folders to watch the director…trying to pry our eyes out of our daily lives to believe that God is with us. Is it true? our hearts ask sometimes. God is with us, we are never alone?
Like most questions, it’s been asked before. Another day laborer, a farmer, asked it thousands of years ago, his face sweaty and dusty from threshing wheat.
The angel (who had just suddenly dropped in) said,
“The Lord is with you.”
And Gideon said to him,
“Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?”
(Judges 6:12, 13 ESV)
What a question of the ages! If God is real, why so many problems? If God is with us, why do things hurt? That question that we still ask as we watch the director over our music folders, and the light of day disappears outside, and we know that tomorrow we need to get up and make breakfast, or tonight we need to go work third shift, and there will be moments that God will not seem to be with us.
How did God answer Gideon’s question? He didn’t. Instead, the angel told Gideon to go in this might of yours and save the nation. Did not I send you?
No long list of reasons why all this happened to us, or excuses why God seemed absent. Apparently, the angel wasn’t interested in arguing about an obvious truth and was instead interested in action.
A few days later…the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon.
A few more days later…And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing….
Gideon never got an answer to his question about why life was hard. He just realized, after meeting God, that he didn’t need an answers, he only needed God.
So we go back to pouring milk into our cereal, or answering the telephone the tenth time, or changing the oil, or planning a lesson. And we go, clothed in God’s Spirit, exhausted, yet pursuing, because with God, no explanation is needed: we are never alone!