David Powlison answers the question "Why me?"
Today we look back and honor the life and ministry of David Powlison (1949-2019), husband, professor, advisor and director of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. In this excerpt from his book The Grace of God in Suffering , he reflects on how God transforms our hearts and teaches us something wonderful when we ask ourselves the question " Why me ? ".
Very often, the instinctive reaction to hardship is to ask ourselves, "Why me?" Why this ordeal? Why now ? Why ? God spoke to us through the truths of the song What a solid foundation! The true God speaks wonderful words, and God always does as he says. In Jesus Christ, God comes for us, in a body like ours, and suffers in our place. His advice and point of view are by no means distant as he personally intervenes in our great suffering. He helps us hold on and he will work with us until the end. He will carry us, even in the most difficult of times. This reality transforms the questions raised by our heart. The withdrawn being who asks "why me? Is thus appeased, raises his eyes and looks around him.
We look away from ourselves and startling new questions come to mind: "Why you? Why you, Prince of life? Why did you come to this evil world? Why have you accepted to know the privations, the weakness, the trials, the sorrow and the death? Why did you go through all this for me, especially for me? However, you did. You did it for the joy that was reserved for you. You did it for love, and in doing so the glory of God shone on the face of Jesus Christ. "
The more we understand the significance of these deep questions, the more joy and balance we find. The universe, ultimately, no longer revolves around us. However, this does not mean that we lose our raison d'être. The history of God gives the right measure to our life; we are neither too big nor too small. Our outlook on situations and individuals changes; everything matters. However, our assessment also makes more sense. We are facing great difficulties, but we have already received an invaluable blessing that will never be taken from us and which will give meaning to our journey at all times.
Why you? The question elicits a sincere response: "My soul, bless the Lord, and do not forget any of his bounties. It is he who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; it is he who delivers your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and mercy; it is he who satisfies your old age with good things, who makes you younger like the eagle. Thank you Father. We are able to express genuine gratitude in the midst of hardship, for all of our sins and sufferings are now free from His compassion.
If our faith was to be used, in some way, to light up this dark world like a three watt nightlight, why not me? If our afflictions were to reveal the Savior of the world, why not me?
Finally, here we are ready to ask, in all sincerity, an almost unthinkable question: "Why not me?" Why not this ordeal? Why not now ? If our faith was to be used, in some way, to light up this dark world like a three watt nightlight, why not me? If our afflictions were to reveal the Savior of the world, why not me? What if we had the privilege of filling what is lacking in the sufferings of Jesus Christ? What if he sanctified our deepest distresses for us? If we no longer had to fear any harm? What if he carried us in his arms? What if our weakness were to show that the power of God saves us from all evil? What if, through our sincere struggles, we were to teach other suffering individuals to get back on their feet? What if our life becomes a source of hope for others? Why not me?
Of course, no one wants to suffer, but we agree to say, like our Savior, "If it is possible, may this cup go away from me!" However, not what I want, but what you want ”(Mt 2639). As was the case with Jesus, the One who saves from death will hear our loud cries and tears. Like him, we will learn obedience through our suffering. Like him, we will have compassion for the weakness of others. Like him, we will show kindness to the ignorant and the lost. Like him, we will show faith to an unbelieving world, hope to a desperate world, love to a loveless world, and life to a dying world. If God keeps all his promises, then why not me?
This article is taken from the book: The Grace of God in Suffering by David Powlison.