Today's devotion from Judges 14 & 15. Judges 14 and 15 demonstrate a reality that we don't often like to think about. I like to think about it like a movie or novel. In our minds, we are the witty, charismatic, handsome, strong, and intelligent protagonist. This often slips into a mentality that we don't notice. We become "me-centric." Christ died for me. God is working all things for "my" good. My prayers are about decisions for "my" life. See what I mean?
These chapters force us to realize that sometimes God calls us to something other than to be healthy and wealthy. God intentionally led Samson into a relationship that was going to be painful and lead to violence. This was good, just not for Samson or his bride. His family tried to talk him out of it, but scripture tells us, "Now his father and mother did not know this was from the Lord." (Judges 14:4, CSB)
Samson was called and gifted for violence. When does, "the Spirit of the LORD rush upon him?" It's when a lion needs to be killed, when 30 Ashkelonites are slaughtered, and when 1,000 Philistines need to be killed. His spiritual gift is murder, and that makes me uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable to think that I might not be called to be the greatest preacher that ever stood in a pulpit. It makes me uncomfortable to think that I might not be called to the creature comforts of life. It makes me uncomfortable that I might be called to suffer and live a life filled with pain.
Many times when we see difficulty we ask the same question Jesus' disciples did in John 9, "Why is this man suffering? Is it because of his sin or his parents'?" In the case of Samson, he was dedicated to God before birth to live a brutal that would ultimately lead, not to his happiness, but to the progress of Israel. What if the tragedy in our lives is not because of sin, but sovereignty? What if the struggle is not because we are outside God's will, but squarely fixed within it? What if your struggle is from the LORD? Does that change the way you would pray or interpret it?