Did you ever ask yourself that question? I did. As a matter of fact, I did it many times during my life. Being honest, before I started to write this article I asked that question, and then, decided to start writing. I can assure that, probably, a 99% of the times I asked that question was because something wrong happened to me, or might be happening to me. But, this article is not about me, but about what causes each one of us to ask ourselves that question.
One of the top reasons why people deny the existence of God is “human suffering”. Why an all-loving, all-powerful being would allow His creation to suffer? Why are out there so many people dying because of famine or war? How is possible that God allows that we suffer so many painful diseases? If God is so powerful, then why He did not stop all of that already? Some might claim a statement such as “if I were God, nothing of these would happen”. Well, if that statement were true, then the person who said it would not be able to doubt about God’s existence.
From the Christian perspective, there are some claims or questions that, while do not deny the existence of God, put in doubt their faith. Here are some examples, “I dedicate my life to God and this is what I get”, “I leave a well-paid job to do mission work and no one cares if I am alive”, “I have been a good wife and faithful Christian but my husband decided to leave me for a younger woman”, or, the question of our discussion, “Why me?”.
Brother Robert R. Taylor, Jr., in his book “The Bible Doctrine of Jehovah God” dedicates a chapter to discuss suffering which this writer highly recommends to anyone who would like to study further on this topic.
In simple words, we suffer, not because of God, but because of our own decisions, or the decisions from others, or events that happen to us or others. Are you sick? God did not cause you to be sick, it could be that you were in a place where others were sick and you got infected. It might be that you did not take proper care of yourself (i.e. I remember how, when I was a little boy, heard my mom telling me not to be playing out under the rain or I will get a cold, did I disobey? Yes, hours later, I was with a lot of pain because I got sick). Is God guilty if I got shot while a man is robbing me? No, He is not, the one that is guilty is that man who decided to rob and use a gun to accomplish that and not caring about the life of his or her victim. Is it right to stop worshipping God because the preacher did something wrong and I do not want to hear him anymore? No, that preacher, as each one of us, is a human being and may err, the problem is if he does not recognize his error and repent, causing him to think of himself higher than what he ought to be (Romans 12:3), a faithful servant of the Lord (2 Timothy 2:24-26). If we fail to worship is not because of that preacher, but because of us not be willing to submit to Him because of the error of that preacher, that, let us never forget, is our brother too. God is and will always be with us, and He does not want to us to perish but to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Quoting brother Taylor,
“Sorrow and suffering are our common lot. No earthly spot offers a shield against such; riches do not immunize us from such; walls cannot be high enough or thick enough to keep such out. Medical science offers neither a solution nor a prescription immunizing us from being the sons of sorrow and the daughters of disaster.”[i]
Dear reader, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told the disciples that their lives were not going to be easy, as some expected to be, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We are his disciples, today, and certainly, our lives are not easy. It might be that I am wealthy but not healthy, or healthy but not wealthy. Have you seen an online comic of four men and their desires? The first one in a car wishing for a newest car, the one in a bike wishing the car of the other man, a man that is walking wishing to have a bike, and, finally, a man watching all of them from his balcony, wishing to be able to walk because he is in a wheelchair. Dear friends, many of us take for granted the simple fact that we can walk forgetting that there are some that cannot do it. Just the simple act of walking is a blessing from God.
Let us remember the apostle Paul when he wrote,
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:10-13).
Let us get into the context. This is the apostle Paul, not a young man, who is in prison, telling the brethren at Philippi that he rejoices greatly. He is happy even when he is in prison. He is thankful that those brethren cared for him. He reminds them that it is not because they must do it, but because they wanted to do it. He is happy no matter what happens. He learned how to be content. He had times of abundance and times of need. He learned how to deal with all these situations because he knew that Christ provides everything he needs, and gives the strength to overcome any situation.
Instead of asking ourselves “Why me?” we must start asking ourselves “Why not me?” As the prophet Isaiah replied to the question from the Lord, we must do, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Being missionaries and depend on the help of our brethren to cover our expenses is not easy, but we are glad to work for the Lord in every way we can. There are some moments that are very hard, especially when the bills come, or the constant calls, text messages or emails from the companies telling us that we are delayed on our payments However, we know that we are not the only ones in that situation, and God has never forsaken nor left us (Hebrews 13:5). Am I sick? Or any of my family members? Thousands of people around the world are sick too, but we must rejoice on that wonderful promise of our Lord Jesus Christ that is recorded in the Great Commission, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). He did not say “I will”, He said “I am”, presently active, watching and taking care of us. Am I under any other difficulty? Well, I must remember the words of the brave apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Am I afraid of telling others about the good news? Then, I need to remember that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone (Romans 1:16) and He has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). The Gospel is more than just something people need to hear, it is a must to everybody, therefore we must go and preach Christ to the world. The world does not need to hear it from false teachers, but from the ones that sincerely heard it, obeyed it, and preach it, not only by word, but also by deeds in the way that Christ authorizes us to do it (Colossians 3:17).
As God told to the great leader Joshua, we must be “strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:9). Our mission (Mark 16:15) is not easy, but God has given us everything we need to do our work (2 Peter 1:3). Our Master is great, He paid our debt (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19), a debt that none of us is able to pay. He expects from us to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable”, not as some think they are serving God by doing non-sense things, because He also expects that when we do it, we do it as a “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Let us remember always that we cannot be conformed to this world, but transformed to do according to what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
The wise James at the opening of his epistle wrote,
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Dear friends, there will be difficulties, challenges, trials, disappointments, and other situations that we will start or continue experiencing, but, God is greater than all of that. There will be a time when we will be rewarded with the crown of life by being ourselves faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). This life might be difficult but the reward at heaven is surely worthy.
The next time we think on asking ourselves “Why Me?” let us remember that “this world is not our home, we are just passing through” as penned in that beautiful hymn by brother Albert E. Brumley.
May God bless you today and always!
[i] Robert R. Taylor, Jr, The Bible Doctrine of Jehovah God, p. 17.