Turn on the tv or computer, talk to your bestie, or look around and you are bombarded with images of suffering. Typhoons, cancer, school shootings, domestic violence, drug abuse...you've seen what I'm talking about.
You're bombarded with bad stuff and it makes you wonder - If God is so big and powerful, why doesn't He just stop the pain? Why does God allow suffering? If He loves us so much, why doesn't He keep the bad stuff from happening?
Sisters... The truth is, I don't know.
“I swear to God”…Don’t!
Do you remember the story of Jephthah from Judges 11? My guess is that few do.
Jephthah was one of Israel’s judges in the period after the exodus from Egypt and before Israel begged God for a king, so they could be like all their neighboring nations. It was one of those times when “The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight” (Judges 10:6) and needed to be rescued. Jephthah was a brave warrior, but his mother wasn't well liked so his stepbrothers told him to get lost. He left and a bunch of “lawless men” joined his gang and began traveling with him. At best, you could think of him as a biblical Robin Hood type of guy.
So when the Israelites needed a commander for their army, who did they ask? That’s right: Jephthah the brave warrior and his gang of lawless men. Have you noticed that God often calls people who are no one else’s first choice?
When I was your age, we went to a traditional church. The ones like you see on TV. Red brick with high ceilings, a red carpeted central aisle separating two rows of wooden pews. The minister wore black robes. Actually, I went to two different churches, one like I just described and another 100-year-old one in a tiny town. The white steepled building looked like a postcard.
The churches may not have looked much alike but they were very similar. They had Sunday school teachers who led us in songs then taught us Bible stories using black flannel boards and cut-outs of Bible characters. This was high-tech. Remember, back then we didn’t have DVDs or laptop computers.
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