When you have a child with cancer, or really when you have any tragedy come your way, a perfectly normal response is, “Why me?”. I can’t think of a more maddening question. Again, I’m not judging anyone who asks this question or thinks this way. In fact, if you read through the Psalms, many of David’s writings come from caves with him asking basically that very same question. Allow me, remember I’m the one with the sick child, to explain.
Jesus says very clearly in John 16:33 Jesus says, “…in this world you will have trouble.” Maybe someone told you that to follow Jesus will preclude you from difficulty or bad times. Maybe they told you that “the safest place to be is in the center of the will of God.” I certainly hope that you weren’t lead to believe that when bad things come your way that it is a cosmic reprimand or punishment for things you have done or failed to do. To walk around thinking that God is punishing you, on top of whatever has happened to you would be a very dark, scary, and lonely place. I pray that you don’t find yourself there.
There are many reasons why bad things happen. Certainly, our lifestyles can greatly enhance the probability of bad things happening. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will probably get sick. If your job is a high risk occupation your chances of things going wrong are much greater than if you have a quiet desk job. There is a natural consequence to many of the terrible things that come upon us in life. Is that fair? Hard to say. Does is matter?
There are times though, when we have not lived in such fashion. We do take care of ourselves, we do not have a high risk lifestyle, we live in a “safe” neighborhood, we are “good” people. Yet, the bad things find us. Perhaps it’s these times that leave us the most perplexed. If God is all loving and all powerful how can “this” have happened? James Dobson calls it the “Betrayal Barrier.” He sadly surmises that 80 – 90% of Christians don’t recover from this. They don’t leave the church but they’re never the same after facing it.
Lastly, for those of you who are walking around, crushing yourself because you KNOW it’s your fault. You are SURE that you are being punished (beyond the natural repercussions of poor decisions and/or lifestyles). You don’t know why you are being punished or even sure of what you did, you are simply certain that you must “deserve” it. My heart breaks for you. How sad, how lonely, how unnecessary your pain is. You are going through enough with whatever has come your way. Please, don’t add to it by beating yourself up.
Let’s focus again on Jesus saying that in this world, “…you will have trouble.” Who said that? Jesus. You know, the Son of God? The only person to live a perfect life? The only one to have never sinned? Yeah, that guy. How did things go for Him? Smooth sailing? Never a heartbreak? Pain free? Safe from persecution? Comfortable at all times? This may take me a moment or two but allow me answer all of those questions…NO. Oh, that didn’t take long at all. So, if the only Son of God, the greatest man to walk this earth, the Savior of all who call upon His name and accept His sacrifice faced a life filled with “bad things” (to say the least) how can we possibly think that they won’t come our way?
The greater/more appropriate question one should ask (rather than “why me”) is “Ok Lord, what now?” Another one might be, “God, what are you doing to me or perhaps through me?” Eventually, you may come to a place where you ask, “Ok, this is where things stand. You have allowed it. Now, how are You going to bless me in the midst of it?”
You see, your afflictions are greater than you. Your difficulties are more than you can imagine. They will begin to pile up to levels you can’t presently imagine. It might be one thing, it could be many. Regardless, a time and place is coming where you are rendered helpless. Your efforts to deal with them will be futile. It is then that you will see that all hope is not lost. Oh, the outcome you are looking for may very well not come your way. Yet, something else will happen. You will see some meaning in what appears to be senseless suffering. You will see direction in a lost cause. You will feel connected through a lost and dark place. There will be a new wholeness that will arise from severe brokenness. Then, things will change.
Before we go there, I want to make something perfectly clear. You should not, cannot, must not, deny how you are feeling. If you are sad, cry. If you are angry, yell. If you are in despair, weep…and hold on. You can’t go straight to “Let’s go Lord” until you have allowed Him to love you through comforting you through your time of sadness and grief. He will most often do this through the love and comfort of others. To simply motor through the bad news and focus on what is next will only trip you up down the road. The feelings are there for a reason. They have to be felt, and felt in the presence and comfort of others. Then, and only then, can you begin to be blessed through your affliction.
In conclusion, if you happen to be someone who is reading this saying, “Sure, that is great for you and anyone else who actually has a faith. I haven’t been to church in years. I don’t believe in God. I don’t pray.” If that is you may I simply say that the first way you are going to be blessed by whatever is happening to you is that God is calling you near. He is calling your name. He is trying to let you know that you have someone else other than yourself to rely upon. He is not doing this to you but using this situation (that would have happened anyhow) to draw you to Him. He is there, He knows you, He created you, He wants you to know Him.
Why me? No, rather ask, “What now?”. You will be amazed at what you will find out.