The Story of Sampson

Today’s reading covers the story of Sampson (Judges 14-16).  The tale reads like something out of a Shakespearean tragedy.  A leader of the people, blessed with outlandish strength, is strong and firm in his commitment to God.  His dedication hits a significant hurdle; women.  Delilah, the secret spy of the Philistines.  She used her feminine whimsy to trick the great man into telling her the secret to his strength.  The guard cuts Sampson’s hair, and the rest is history.

The end of the story sees a blind and distressed former hero disgraced and mocked by those whom he defeated only a short time before.  His shame is replaced by God’s strength when in a last minute valiant effort, he removes the pillars which hold the building up.  The structure falls and everybody, including Sampson, is killed.  Thus ends the story of bravery, sin, perseverance, and finally redemption.

Too often, we find ourselves on top of the world.  Life is great.  And so, we become complacent in our daily walk with God.  “I don’t need anything, because I have everything.”  In our moments of pride, we forget to forge ahead with our spiritual lives.  We live as if we reached a destination without realizing that God calls us to receive power and to minister while we are in the middle of the journey.

When someone comes to steal our strength, there is no way to protect ourselves.  Frightened and feeling abandoned, we surrender our hearts and souls over to those who don’t deserve them.  God seems very far away, and the silence is very deafening.  We sense that we are alone, without a protector.  At that moment, we realize that we are not the God of our story.  We must let go and trust that the Divine presence will reveal itself in all of its strength and glory.

Just when all seems lost, and we are down to our last moments, God appears.  He restores our strength and brings us holy joy.  Sacred happiness illuminates our lives as we experience communion with God.  We are made whole.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of Hamlin Memorial United Methodist Church in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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