Why me? Have you ever asked this question when some calamity came upon you? It’s a common question to all of us. We want to know why something happened, thinking that knowing the answer would somehow help lessen the pain and suffering or help us out of that dark place. If you research the topic of suffering in the bible you will find a number of reasons there is suffering, even undeserved suffering in this world.
Sometimes we suffer because of the mistakes we make. We control our own choices, but not the consequences of those choices. Be it drinking, smoking, drug abuse, financial squandering, wasted time, or relational abuse, we reap what we sow – just as God said.
Sometimes our suffering comes as a result of the poor choices others make, reminding us that the decisions don’t just affect us. I think of the little child who was instantly killed a couple hundred feet from where we lived in Australia, when a young man struck her while traveling too fast over a hill.
Most often we suffer as a result of a fallen world. What God created as good, man has destroyed. In his perfect Eden, people and animals and plants flourished. In our present world, everything, including cancer, progresses toward decay and suffering.
In all of this God promises to work good for those who love him and are called according to his name. In the middle of Paul’s significant struggles he proclaimed, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 In other words, there is meaning and purpose in suffering.
God doesn’t waste pain.
God uses pain and sorrow and suffering to draw us closer to himself, to make us more tender toward one another, to teach us important life lessons, and shape into who we were meant to be.
But while we ask “Why me?” and search for answers to our suffering, I wonder if we might explore another aspect of the question”Why me?” (Thanks to brother Bruce for this perspective.)
“Why Lord, have you heaped impossible mountains of blessings upon me?
- Life itself, consciousness beyond our chemical composition -yikes, what did I do to deserve THAT?
- A beautiful world, nestled in a wondrous universe. Frontiers to explore with gifts of muscle and brain.
- Creatures galore, and human creatures too, allowing an infinite variety and depth of relationships, Free will, opportunity and challenge”
Indeed, Why Me? Why have I been so blessed by the gift of friends and family? How did I come to deserve such a devoted and loving wife? Why am I allowed to live in the land named “luxury” by most everyone else in the world. Why have you made my heart tender and receptive to your love and chosen me for an eternity of undeserved joy?
Wherever we find suffering, there is blessing to be discovered also, blessing that is fueled by a thankful heart and perpetuated by sharing that same blessing with others.
We are blessed in order to bless others.
The Psalmist says:
“May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us.” Psalm 67 v 1
Why? Why is God gracious to us and bless us?
“so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations. ” Psalm 67 v 2
We are blessed so that others may know God’s ways, that his salvation may be among all nations. In what ways are you blessed today – in order to bless those around you with the great love of God?