Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. Judges 2:1118
THERE WAS SILENCE in our small group meeting when we learned that Louise was back in prison. We had welcomed her into our group when she was released the first time. She had contributed to the discussions and participated when we prayed. Our group leader had spent much time mentoring her, and a church family had given her a home and hired her to care for an aging relative.
We were full of questions: Why did this happen? What more could we have done? We felt that we had failed, and our group leader expressed reluctance to take on such responsibility again. In the end, however, we came to the conclusion that Louise wasnt the first to go back to her evil practices and stubborn ways. God had set an example of love and forgiveness for us to follow. So we reached out in love to Louise again and left the results in Gods hands.
Lord, Im so glad that you have never forsaken me, even when I have forsaken you. Give me the kind of love that doesnt let go of others when they need your love the most.
-Bonnie Grau is a writer who lives in Pennsylvania.