Why Me? Why Not?
So life as of late has been a little rough for my little family. Just to give you an idea, there hasn’t been a completely healthy household in months. At one point in time during all of that period, one of us has been sick; either it was me, my wife, or my son. On top of this there was a death in the family, and I recently had a minor surgical procedure done which was immediately followed by being sick…again.
Needless to say, I sit here at work typing this whilst hacking up a lung, nose dripping, voice essentially gone, and feeling like I have been run over by a steam roller. In a moment like this it is incredibly tempting to throw a pity party, to bemoan my circumstances and complain about how unfair it is that my little family and I suffer sickness and loss. It is also easy to ask God one little question that while genuine also reflects to show us just how much work we still need before we are truly transformed in Christ through the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:12).
The question of “why me” on its surface seems to be an earnest longing for a reason for the suffering we are currently enduring. Some will chide me for what I am about to say, claiming that I am shaming people into not asking questions of God. Let me make it clear here and now, that is now what I am doing. It is fine to ask the question, but when we have been given the answer, it is likely unwise to go to God asking the same question expecting a different outcome. We worship an unchanging eternal God who is not going to change his rational or reasoning because we don’t like it.
He will tell us the truth and then expect us to know that truth and apply it to our lives regardless of our feelings about that truth. In many ways the asking of this question reminds us of our current fallen status regardless of Christ’s work in our lives. In our very core, in the deep recesses of our inner self, we are all obsessively narcissistic. This sin nature that incites us to stupefying acts is still something that we have to contend with, still something that we have to battle and go to war with every single day. In light of this knowledge God answers our question, and boy is it a doozy.
I have found that it is a rare thing for God to actually answer your question straight on. God is far too, wise for that. Instead he answers with a question of his own, “why not?” In pondering this I came to recognize a horrific thing. Even in the midst of my sickness, in experiencing my wife lose a loved one and seeing my little boy sick and miserable there are so many others in the world far worse off. In asking why not, God is really asking, “what makes you better than them?” I will never have to fear for my child’s life, worry that he will not have enough food to eat, or access to medical care and education. I will never know the fear of husbands in Africa or India whose women are sexually ambushed at astonishing rates. I will never have to worry about my wife dying from a treatable and curable disease. I will never have to be concerned with where my next meal comes from or how I am going to afford the simplest of healthcare.
There is so so so much that we take for granted, and it is in this abundance that we have created a thought process so poisonous to us that we have come to complain about the slightest inconvenience or discomfort. In answering my question as he did God showed me something that all of us need to be ever mindful of. The world does not revolve us. It does not revolve around our personal beliefs, our convictions, our opinions, our feelings, and the like; no, it revolves as God sees fit and only as he sees fit. The cosmos revolves to bring glory, honor, and joy to God; to fulfill his purposes and plans for all things in the created order.
Grace Where Wrath Stood
We are lucky that in the midst of this truth that God has decided to include us in this blessing. That he has found joy and delight in loving us despite us, to pour grace where wrath once stood. But even in this we have Christians in this country that try to twist this blessing, this gift into something to serve our wants and needs. Abuses of scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11 and John 10:10 are flagrant and unashamedly self-serving. Yet I see Christians utilize these texts in these ways as some promise that God will work things for their good (with their general definition of good in mind). The purpose of these texts however is not to assure us that good things are coming our way, they are commitment of someone that has already been given to us. In Christ himself, in our worship and service to him, we live better and abundant lives. In Christ we have the promise to always be his people that he will never depart from us since his coming to us was not dependent on us to begin with.
So the next time we feel tempted to complain, to be angry with God over our suffering remember, we have been given an overabundance of God’s grace through Christ already. Remember that God owes us nothing, but has given us far more than anything we could ever have hoped for. Remember that how we feel has little to do with the truth as it stands within reality, and that we are not called to always “feel” ok. What we are called to is a prospective outlook where our knowledge of God and his word forms how we see the world. With this in mind we can be armed to combat our inner Napoleonic narcissism with unapologetic truth. By doing this we set a pattern where how we act is dictated by our knowledge of God, and not by how we feel. When we do this, we move closer to Christ understanding his heart and his intention for our lives. I pray that this find all of you well, and that each of us remember God’s humbling answer, “Why not?”
With Love in Christ
Justin (AKA The Nerdy Theologian)