“Is the Lord with us or not?”
How common a question is this? In the story from the book of Exodus we are told this is what the people of Israel were asking, “Is the Lord with us or not?” At the first sign of trouble in many of our lives this is one of the first questions that slip from our lips as if we have been abandoned to some terrible fate that others excluded from. Sometimes it is expressed differently in the words “What have I done to deserve this?” Of course the reality is that people everywhere, those of great faith and those of none, face various trials in their life, or as Jesus puts it God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”
Trying to make a connection between these trials of life and God’s actions is a complex and mysterious matrix to traverse to the point at which many in our so called enlightened western community prefer to ask the question “Is there a Lord or not?”
The source of such questions is based on whatever our personal understanding of God is. Do we believe in a God who micro manages our lives, opening doors for us, providing opportunities or trials and tests according to God’s plan. Or do we believe that the world is independent of God’s action and that we have freedom in our decisions and there is a certain ordered randomness of the natural events which occur around us.
Maybe it is because we ask such questions of God and ourselves that we can find a place within the church not because we are people who have discovered the answers but because we ask questions and so like the Israelites quarrel with God who as a track record of responding.