Why me?!! Why is this happening to me?!!
This is the cry many of us make when it all hits the fan.
Relationships hit rough waters, health takes a nosedive, injustice gains the upper hand, expenses exceed cash flow or employment becomes unbearable or non-existent. These trials of life are not just bumps in the road – but the tribulations that rock us to our core, bring us to our knees, level us to the ground and for some of us and nearly others, take us out of the game.
And for those of us who are faithful – who’ve leaned steadfastly on the Lord; who’ve prayed and witnessed and ministered continually in His name – it can feel exceptionally hurtful…even cruel. “Why me, Lord? I’ve been a faithful servant? Why me?”
I remember a line from a television drama years ago when a mother counseled her daughter who asked this question. The daughter was battling cancer and the mother’s response was brilliant. She said something like, “We don’t question our blessings in life, why should we question our burdens?”
That’s a lesson in humility right there! Burdens, like blessings are part of the deal. Some are clearly more trying than others, but to expect to escape the burdens… that’s arrogant, naïve or even selfish.
But questioning our trials may actually not be a bad thing. Most of us ask, “Why me?” from a place of distress with a desire for deliverance… and mind you… there’s nothing wrong with that. Jesus sought deliverance in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He also prayed “nevertheless.... “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke 22:42). He yielded. We need to learn to do that. We need to learn to incorporate that spirit within our troubled cries. “Lord, I seek deliverance…, nevertheless – I yield.” Aaaah! Easier said than done, especially when we know what’s ahead could be torturous in ways we cannot fathom. Yet still….
And this leads me back to the question: “Why me? Why is this happening to me?”
The first time I encountered a soul-crushing trial, I didn’t ask, “Why me.” For some reason, I already knew. Instead I said to the Lord, “You must have plans for me.” Don’t misunderstand – I was drowning. I realized, in hindsight, that I had entered a serious depression. I had well too much on my plate and support and resources (financial, relational & manpower) were taken away from me. I was sleeping all the time and cried at the drop of a hat. At one point, I literally prayed that the Lord was going to have to move me one morning because I had nothing in me to get up out of bed. I don’t even recall the next two weeks. It’s like that poem, “Footprints”, that’s when He carried me. Still, I knew He was doing something in me, I just had to withstand, keep walking and endure. (Seems, I have an unwanted talent for that.)
As other overwhelming storms have come over the years, I’ve learned more and more about the adage, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Remember – some of the most precious things on the planet come from oppressive circumstances:
The pearl – stems from an irritation
The diamond – from intense pressure
And gold – is refined by fire.
When I was emerging from that first soul-crushing trial, I fell in love with this song entitled, I am Gold. It was on the solo gospel album of Earth, Wind & Fire leadman Philip Bailey. The chorus is:
I've been tried in the fire And the flames get so high That I can't see the sky For the smoke in my eyes But each time I survive Makes me not ashamed to stand and testify I am gold
I am gold. That’s it. That is the “why”. The Lord is doing something or He’s permitting something. Either way, He’s working it out so we may be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)
So, the next time the winds start blowing, the waves come crashing or the earth shifts beneath your feet… and you’re pursing your lips to cry out, “Why me? Why is this happening to me?” Remember… “nevertheless”. Remember to hang on tight and yield – and if need be, let Him carry you…because the Lord will not forsake you. He’s got plans for you and he’s refining you to make you precious.
You are Gold!
Victoria L. Chapman is currently emerging from her worst storm yet… And she’s now starting to see God’s hand in preparing her to help and stand with others facing similar storms. The details, however, are still to be determined. (Rom 8:28.)