You can’t scare God away (Judges 14)

Sometimes I have a bad week and I have no one to blame but myself.

I drop my responsibilities. I procrastinate on all of those things I promised I would get done. Instead, I sink down into the blind, zombie-like comfort of binge eating and binge watching. I stay up until the earliest hours of the morning. I scramble awake just before my remote job starts. With my belly still gurgling and my heart burning from last night’s feast, I drag myself to my computer and hunch over it until 4:30, when it all starts over again.

Maybe it doesn’t sound so bad, but it feels bad. I feel out of control because I am. I feel unhealthy because it is. I feel scared because I can’t remember the last time I haven’t had a week like this.

And overall I feel alone.

How do I explain to my friends what this is like? I can’t.

How do I face my family and ask for prayer? I’m too ashamed.

How can I get God to drag me out of this mess? I haven’t spoken to Him in days, which must mean He’s given up on me.

He’s disgusted by the sight of me. He’s willing to take me back, I guess, but I have to fight my way through the bleary haze of my misdeeds in order to get Him to like me again.

But again, how?

I’m a little jealous of people in the Bible, people like Jonah, Joseph, the Israelites, or Samson. People who sinned and were forgiven. People who were sinned, yet they weren’t thrown out of God’s mind or His heart.

Samson is the prophesied child of Manoah and his wife. The child a literal angel came to proclaim. And he’s…not that great of a person.

In Judges 14 it is clear he is spoiled. He demands what he wants and expects he will get it (verse 2). He is deceptive. He sees a chance to trick others for his own benefit and he takes it (verses 12-13). He is violent. He’s willing to harm others to save himself (verse 19). He has a temper. He throws a tantrum when things don’t go his way.

In other words, he’s pretty repulsive. And if he’s so unpleasant to us, then how much more to God? He’s disgusted, right? He can’t even look at Samson? He’s turned His attention to other people? He’ll let Samson figure himself out, if he can?

No, actually. Weirdly, God personally steps into Samson’s life three separate times, just in this chapter. He guides him. He protects him. He strengthens him.

Wait, what? What’s going on? Why does Samson get special treatment? Why isn’t God mad at him? Why isn’t God avoiding him? Why hasn’t God washed His hands of him?

Could it be that God understands Samson? Could it be that God is willing to have mercy on Samson? Could it be that He still wants Samson, that He still has a plan for Samson’s life, and He still wants to lead Samson to it, even if he took a detour?

Could it be He loves Samson? Unconditionally?

And if He can love Samson, a violent, spoiled, sneaky man-child, then can He love me, an unhealthy, addicted, lazy hypocrite?

Maybe I don’t have to get Him to like me again? Maybe He liked me all along? Maybe He is always watching over me, even when I am disgusting? Maybe I’m not alone, and He’ll help me instantly when I ask?

Maybe I didn’t scare Him away. Maybe He is here.

If His love is that powerful, then what else can He do? Can’t He stop me from having these terrible weeks? Can’t He make me a new, healthier, happier person?

I think so. He must be able to. And if He loves me, He’ll do it when I ask. He wouldn’t ignore me. He wouldn’t watch me suffer. He would give me His hand. I would be stronger just by being near Him.

I’ll try it. I feel like I’ve tried this before, but those other times were when I thought I was alone. Those were the times when I thought I had to make Him like me.

All those other times, I eventually stopped trying. I convinced myself those bad weeks were actually really fun. Those other times, I told myself I would try again later.

This time, I know I’m not alone. Now I know He likes me. Now I know that I can hold His hand when I feel like giving up, and He won’t shake me off. He’ll hold my hand tighter. He’ll remind me why we’re doing this. He’ll remind me that He loves me.

I’m so scared that this time won’t be different. But He loves me! Unconditionally!

I’m going to try again. I’ll report back. Why don’t you try with me?

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