Monday, December 7, 2015

Is it time for an intervention?

There have been many occasions where I’ve thought “please God, help me!” or some derivation of that thought. The thought has applied to so many scenarios from the light-hearted (looking for a rest stop in the middle of nowhere after a large coffee) to the darkest moments (please don’t take my Mom, she’s not ready). In those moments my focus is singular where I just want that one thing to happen. I suppose I have been lucky because I’ve always managed to find a rest stop just in time and my Mom is still with us; but looking back, was it really luck? I did ask God for help after all.

Our discussion this past Sunday focused on the idea of God helping us or looking out for us. We referenced the story from 1 Samuel 7:3-14 where the Israelites defeated the Philistines at Mizpah. The Israelites feared the Philistines and asked Samuel to pray to God on their behalf. The Lord answered Samuel with a loud thunder which threw the Philistines into confusion and panic resulting in a victory for the Israelites. Samuel knew their victory was not a result of their army; it was a result of God’s intervention. 

In those moments of victory, where things work out, it is easy to thank and praise God. But what about those other moments where we feel our prayers go unanswered? I cannot help but think of the victims of the recent Paris attacks or the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California this week. There was even a headline in the New York Daily News of 'God Isn't Fixing This'. That headline may be partially true. Look back at that passage from Samuel. Did God strike down the Philistines? No. God's intervention gave the Israelites the advantage but the victory still required the Israelites to take action. Following the victory, Samuel set up a stone at the site called an Ebenezer to serve as a reminder and testament to God's help. 

Where is God's thunder? Did we miss God's intervention and our cue to take action? Or maybe it hasn't happened yet? The Israelites were under constant threat of attack. They came together at Mizpah and witnessed a miracle. I believe there are many similarities between the Israelites and the world we live in today. We are all children of God and we need to find a way to come together. When our Mizpah moment happens we'll witness God's intervention and hopefully take action when we need to. And like Samuel, we must set up an Ebenezer as a reminder of God's help and our ability to overcome our differences to defeat our enemies. Until that time comes we must continue to pray to God on behalf of those victims, their families and for all of us as we seek guidance and protection.