Why me Lord?
If you are like me, you have heard...or maybe uttered this question a few times. Oftentimes, on the brink of a family member's or friend's death, we may hear this question, or when times have gotten tough at home, financial burden has found us, illness traps us, loss of a job, or other catastrophic events can cause us to wonder...and maybe grab this saying in our heart, or in our voices.
But, do we truly understand the question of "Why Me Lord?"
Let's look at some basic thoughts together.
- Why Me Lord? What have I done to deserve this....
- Why Me Lord? I thought that You took care of those that love You...
- Why Me Lord? I go to church...most Sundays...
- Why Me Lord? You know I can't handle this...
1. What have I done to deserve this...
This particular question seems to be the most popular that I have ever heard, and possibly grabbed hold of. We often think that things that we do either have a reward...or punishment, and rightly so as there are consequences for our actions in all things.
What have we done to deserve this? In comparison, think of Job. Job was a righteous man. He had done nothing to invite Satan into his life...matter of fact, the context of the text would reveal somewhat that Satan wanted in because of Job's devout righteousness. The book of Job describes some pretty sad situations in his life. He lost his family, lost his riches, lost other worldly things, and nothing seems to point to a fact that he "deserved" any of this.
Now, don't get me wrong, I can empathize with all of these thoughts just as much as anyone else can. We can all feel like we have been backed into a corner a time or two and place unmerited blame where it should not and does not exist.
With that said, the consequences of our actions may sometimes seem as if we may deserve certain things in an element. I have heard it said that when Jeffrey Dahmer was converted as a Christian that he realized that his sins were forgiven, but the consequences would continue on. Those consequences eventually cost him his life.
2. I thought that You took care of those that love You...
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
What a comforting verse for us. Or is it really? Romans 8 is a very beautiful and eloquent passage. There is a lot of meaning in the words of Paul here to those he was exhorting. What we cannot do though, is take these words and misapply them to our thought.
Many have used this verse to attempt to comfort those in times of trials. It is certainly a comforting thought; yet, if we step back and look at the entire context of the passage at hand, we can certainly see that Paul was not saying "everything will be okay!" Matter of fact, everything - in the physical life - would not end up okay for Paul as we know.
Paul describes in his letters some pretty heart-wrenching events in the lives of others, and specifically in his own life. He states that he had been shipwrecked multiple times, snake bitten, beaten half to death (in the phrase we might use), left for dead, arrested, persecuted, stoned, and the list could go on. So, how is it that Paul could look at the events in his own life and still write these words of comfort in Romans 8:28?
I will submit to the reader that the entire context will clarify this for us. In verses 35-39, we will certainly start to see the "bigger picture" of the context. Does God love us? Absolutely. Does He take care of those that love Him? Absolutely! We have to look beyond the physical realm to understand how God takes care of us though.
3. I go to church...most Sundays...
"Okay preacher...now you are meddling!" Not really. This phrase has been said in more ways than one, by more Christians than not. We tend to allow things to shape our thoughts that never were conceptually principle to start with.
Christianity is much the more than just "going to church" when the doors are open. The most faithful Christians that you may encounter may share a common ground that you may have not thought about. 208. 208 is the number of hours per year that the typical "most faithful" church goer spends in assembly. (2 services on Sunday and Bible studies on Sunday and Wednesday). Contrast this to some other thoughts of how many hours we spend on other things in our lives each year. 2080 hours are spent by a typical worker that works 40 hours per week without vacation and overtime.
Am I suggesting that if you spend more time with "church" things that life will be better? Certainly not, however, as James says in the book of the same name "Draw near unto God, and He will draw near unto you."
You see...things happen in everyone's life. It isn't a qualifier if they are a Christian, or not. The way that Christians' lives are lived and filled with such things as violence, stress, death, anxiety, and so on, is the same exact way that anyone else's life is lived. The difference is in how the Christian is able to handle things, not on our own accord, but with the help of God. Going to church, worshiping God, and studying the Bible does not change the way things happen in our lives...it changes the way that we resolve, address, and encapsulate in our lives.
4. You know I can't handle this...
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Wouldn't it make sense to start this bullet point with this verse? After all, Paul said he could do all things right? But...I can't do all things. I can't move a 500 pound rock. You may can, but I cannot. I can't build a bridge. You may can, but I cannot. There are limitations to what I can do as a human, either in skill, physical limitations, or just plain knowledge.
So, what is the meaning of what Paul said? Is he really saying that we can do all things? Take a few minutes to think about the words of the passage at hand in context.
Paul is writing a passage scripture that tells of his joy, hardship, struggle, and desires for life...at a time in which he is under arrest in a prison! He begins this passage with an exhortation of meditation of life. He is reflecting on the good, and the bad things that have happened in his life. He had even started this letter off stating that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain."(1:21) No doubt that Paul had some challenges, but he also had the right mindset. In this context, he doesn't complain. He doesn't say that he cannot handle what has been put in front of him. He answers with an affirmative to what he has already stated when he says that he has learned that whatever state that he was in...to be content.
So, can we really handle all things? Or not? Christians will face hardships, struggles, and even sometimes what might seem like the "end of the world." When we put our strength in God, and realize that what Paul is saying here is that Christ has already lived the hard life...and death for us, how can we consider that we might not be able to handle these types of things?
Why do we suffer? Is it because God doesn't love us? Is it because we are being punished? Is it because we haven't done what God wants us to do?
Maybe we can see the beauty of what Paul meant in Philippians 4:13 when he says that he can do all things through Christ in a new set of questions. Let's answer a few questions in a different tone now.
"Why Me Lord?"
Why did You leave heaven and come to the earth for me Lord?
Why did You live in a world full of strife and temptation for me Lord?
Why did You die a cruel death on a wooden cross for me Lord?
Why me....why me Lord?
Blessings and the love of God to you.
~Joey Ferrell - the Preacher in Steel-toed Boots