God, why me?

runI danced with self-pity on Wednesday afternoon. I moped around wondering “why me,” questioning the fairness of it all. In the process I lost my balance, failing to account for a thousand blessings, seeing only the pain.  Yes, the losses in my life are undeniably significant but it is also a fact that I enjoy many blessings and I own the promises of God through Christ Jesus. Fatigue plays a part in my loss of perspective. Thoughts like – “God, I can’t take it anymore” or “You are so unfair to those who love You” tend to gain traction in my mind when I am tired. Discouragement takes over when I let the important things go because of the pressure of the urgent matters!

My reading in the Word this morning reminded me how wrong it is to think that I should be exempt from suffering because I am a Christian. Peter says, “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” (1 Peter 4:1-2, The Message)  What wisdom!  Short-sightedly, we want God to treat us like indulged, spoiled children. Instead, He invites us to enter into the reality of the world, a place marred by evil, to ‘suffer’ just like His Son did when He left heaven’s perfection to be our Savior. The difficulties toughen us up, break our love of ease and Self, so we can joyfully say with Jesus, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Later in that same passage, Peter warns of confusing the suffering we bring on ourselves with sinful choices with the suffering that comes as a result of walking in God’s will.  In my own words, he says “If people get down on you because you are a miserable person, a thief who steals by failing to hold up your end of responsibility, or if you are sticking your nose into their business where it does not belong, don’t blame God for your troubles. But, if you are rejected because you love Jesus so much you won’t join the sinners’ party, then be joyful!”

The Bible has many reminders that make it quite clear that our commitment to Christ is one requiring patience and toughness! Timothy, a young pastor in the early church, met with opposition growing discouraged.. Paul kicked him in the seat of the pants with this challenge –Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV) In another passage, he shifts the illustration to the marathon – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, NIV)

I sometimes start looking for that Staples™ “Easy” button!  Make my grief disappear, God.  Cause my sermons to write themselves. Fund the ministries without my efforts at leadership. Take all my temptations away so I do not have to practice spiritual disciplines.  The Word is abundantly clear that most of the time God does not miraculously remove the difficulties. Instead, He amazingly leads us through them and, as we trust Him, keeps us on our feet, reflecting His love and goodness into a darkened world.

With submission and surrender my whiny prayer, “God, why me?” shifted to a petition, “God, use this to shape me for Your praise.” Will you? The situations are the same, but my attitude is radically different.

Here is a word from the Word. Let it speak to you today. “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” (1 Peter 4:19, NLT)  “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11, NLT)

________

Blessings

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace comfort for family
Protection while we sleep
We pray for healing for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand
To ease our suffering
And all the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness
We doubt Your love
As if ev’ry promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while You hear each desp’rate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is a revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain the storms the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Laura Story
© 2011 Laura Stories (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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