When talking with people about rough things that are going on in their lives, I find that more often than not, the question turns to “Why me?” It’s in our nature to want to understand why things happen – why certain people get to live a life of seemingly ease, while other people struggle on a daily basis. We want to know why God chooses that one person will struggle with health, while another, perhaps more less deserving, enjoys a life free from physical pain. We ask God, “why does this have to happen to me?” and we pridefully think we are due an answer.
I’ve come to realize that when I ask this question, it may be my emphasis, and not the question itself that is wrong. Instead of asking “why me?” with the presumption that I deserve something different, something better, I should be asking why does God want to give me this particular opportunity to praise His name? Why did He choose me to bear this burden? What unique opportunities will I have to demonstrate His grace because of it? Why might I be the person who He entrusted with this circumstance of His providence?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s an important question nonetheless. And there are examples that we can follow. When John Piper was diagnosed with cancer, he wrote about how important it was not to waste it. Paul, faced with a life of persecution and imprisonment, viewed his sufferings as an opportunity to increase his heavenly treasure. These men, both modern day, and of church history past recognized that God had something to accomplish through their pain, and considered that opportunity greater than any temporal hurt.
When we are faced with our own trials, big or small, may our response be the same.