Gideon opens today's first reading lamenting, where are the wonders our fathers told us about?
We need some back story Gideon becomes the fifth of the judges in charge of Israel, after Deborah. The people have abandoned their worship of God and fallen into all kinds of idolatry and debauchery. The midianites perceive their weakness and attack.
Gideon like most of us today only sees the immediate problem. He doesn't see that it took years for them to get into their present mess. He doesn't see how the mess they are in is their own fault. Instead he asks, "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?" As if they and their lifestyle had nothing to do with the mess they are in.
The good news is that despite their idolatry, despite Gideon's testing of God, God loves them so much that he will in effect save them from themselves.
Perhaps there is hope for us.
Democrats want to blame Obama; Republicans blame Bush. Both are short sighted. Our present mess is more complex and older than that. Our parents who survived the depression and world war II wanted to gives us everything they never had, they wanted to shield us from things like pain, suffering, and sacrifice. They spoiled us all. And we boomers in turned raised a generation more spoiled than ourselves.
The credit card and the home equity line of credit made it possible for us to spend what we did not have, and to have virtually anything we wanted. I remember "lay-away" when you didn't get the item until it was paid for.
Even now we want what we do not need. I turned 51 on Sunday. With the present increase in health and life expectancy, what would make me think that I should retire at 65, and start collecting social security. 65 is no longer old.
God helped the people of Gideon's time, but they had to radically change their lives. There are some who suggest there is no solution, I do believe that with God's help we too can arise from the devastation. But like the people of Israel, it is going to require a radical change of thinking, a radical change of living, a radical change of heart.