Whether a Mom, businessman, husband, pastor, or child, we can all relate to the punches life throws our way from time to time. Ever think that some people seem to have more than their share? I know people like that! Scrolling through social media brings so many to mind, both complete strangers and friends, who are desperate for God to show up in the punches they’ve been thrown. Life can be yucky, even outright ugly at times, yet the trials we face are inevitable as long as we have breath in our bodies.
As hard as we may try not to, it’s easy to turn inward and wonder, “why me?” I think it’s a valid question, however if we look to God for answers when we’re in a pit of life, we will quickly see that we shouldn’t be surprised when things happen to us that we simply don’t prefer. In fact, a pastor that I often listen to who years ago battled cancer shared in his testimony, “why not me?” A bold statement for sure and a question I certainly would not pose to someone going through cancer, or any other such agony of life. His rather seemingly odd question was provocative nonetheless.
Looking into God’s Word for some wisdom, however, you might stumble across one or more of the following scriptures:
Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12)
Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. (1 John 3:13)
We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
The truth is that when we are knocked off our block by an unwelcome punch being thrown our direction, we are (hopefully) driven to our knees in prayer seeking His help. It means in humility we come to Him knowing that we are in desperate need of His power which supercedes our own. It means we recognize how desperate we are for Jesus. As much as we may think we are strong enough to handle all of life’s difficulty, we simply are not. It’s during these difficult times we recognize our need for a Savior. I believe the Lord uses these times in our lives to drive us to Him and pursue Him like nothing else.
So back to the question from the pastor regarding his cancer struggle of ‘why not me?‘, the fact of the matter is that none of us are immune from life’s difficulties and tragedies. We all will experience the negativity of life from time to time. It is only when we become residents of heaven, as followers of Jesus Christ, that we will not experience sickness, tears, and death. This side of heaven, however, problems and suffering are inevitable. It’s why we need Jesus. It’s why we need a Savior. When life is going great, unfortunately we don’t see our need for a Savior. Conversely, when we are in the depths of despair we are desperate for Him to intervene and illuminate the darkness we find ourselves in. Life brings both good and bad which is why it is essential to fill our minds with God’s truth in both the good and bad days.
To me, this is the beauty of being a witness to someone else’s trial. A believer who is truly seeking the Lord, combating the lies of the enemy with God’s truth, fixing their eyes on Jesus, we can see how they boldly proclaim the Lord’s goodness and care to them. It is as if they are being carried through their trial by our loving God, because we know that He works in all things and nothing takes Him by surprise. He has the power to stop whatever the trial we’re in, but He allows it to draw us to Himself. His ways are higher and He works all things together for our good. Seeing life through His perspective which we won’t fully comprehend this side of heaven, makes the punches we are thrown a little less scary. We are never alone and this life is not all there is, thankfully. What a perspective!