Last semester–after what felt like the most difficult recovery ever–I met with one of the pastors at my church to ask a seemingly simple question. Why is this happening to me? I mean I’m a pretty good person, I don’t do anything illegal or commit any of the “major” sins, so why was this terrible, horrible, miserable thing happening to me?! And when was it ever going to end? Keep in mind, this was before the arm and rib stuff started happening.
I didn’t realize this was a prideful attitude; I thought I was justified in asking “why me?” I was operating with the belief that I was “too good” or bad things to happen to me. But what makes me so special that I should be immune to the realities of the world we live in? We live in a fallen, sinful world where pain and sadness and heartbreak are all part of our earthly life. So rather than be surprised when bad things happen to us, and rather than asking “why us?” we should expect these difficulties and this pain and instead, ask ourselves, “why not us?”
In reality, we should welcome these experiences. I’m not saying we have to be happy about pain, but I am saying we should look at it in a different light.
I never expected to have brain surgery. Or chemical meningitis on the brain. Or a rib removed. All in seven and a half months. But I did expect to be used by God and for His purpose, and that’s exactly what He’s doing.
When I met with my pastor he reminded me of the story in the book of John when Jesus and the disciples came across a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples asked Jesus why he was blind, if he sinned or his parents sinned. And Jesus replied, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him,” (John 9:3 NLT). At the time this didn’t mean much, but then, last week in my quiet time, I read Amos 3:6, “Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” And it got me thinking. God is sovereign and He knew exactly what was coming my way, and because Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” is also true, we can conclude that the pain and suffering we go through is not only known by God, but planned by God, all to show His glory.
This conclusion is incredibly humbling. But it means NOTHING if we let our pride get in the way.
If we live under the assumption that everything negative that ever happens to us is undeserved and unfair, we will never allow ourselves to see all of the purpose and possibility that can come as a result. I am thankful for all of these painful experiences, because I am a different and stronger person in God as a direct result of each and every one of them. I try each day to actively pursue a Godly character, to live as a Godly example, and to follow God’s path, and I can honestly say I did not do the same eight months ago.
Next time you’re in the midst of incredible pain, suffering, or heartbreak, I want to encourage you to look around and see God in your circumstances. Try to see how He planned it for His glory and for His purpose for your life. Do this, and instead of asking “why you?” I promise you’ll instead wind up asking, “why not you?”