No Fairy Tale Ending
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once . . .Judges 16:28
Whenever I have caused myself and my family pain with my destructive choices, I have almost always tried to bargain with God. God, I will do whatever it takes to follow you, but then you must fix my disaster. Some disasters do not go away though and some consequences persevere, despite repentance.
Samson discovered this in today’s passage. Once a mighty hero of Israel, born to fight the Philistines, he made horrible choices, losing his strength, his eyes and his freedom. He followed his lust to his own destruction and was enslaved by those whom he was supposed to defeat. At the end of his story, the Philistines put him on display to be mocked.
As all the lords of the Philistines were gathered in this great house, Samson was made to stand between the two pillars holding it up. It was here that Samson found his redemption. O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once . . . In his final display of strength, Samson shattered the two pillars, crushing the 3,000 Philistines and himself. In his death, Samson returned to God and fulfilled his life mission, to destroy the Philistines.
The narrative does not tell us, but I imagine that while enslaved, Samson fantasized about redemption, wishing that he could take back his poor choices. Why did I pursue Delilah? He may have even bargained with God. God, give me back my eyes, my strength and my freedom and I’ll follow you instead of me. I promise I’ll do your will, just get me out of this.
The painful lesson of Samson, is that some consequences are not undone in this life. Our responsibility is always to turn to God, whether or not we get the fairy tale ending we want. We must repent and leave the results up to Him. Insisting that God meet our expectations reveals our persistent attachment to our plan, which was our problem in the first place. God does not always grant us our temporary desires, but He always offers redemption to Him, which is what we eternally need.