Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Me?

Why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Usually, these are words that we hear in the context of suffering and hardship. Often when something bad happens, one of the first things we ask is how a good and all powerful God could let something like this happen.

I don't want to dismiss the problem of evil. I think it is a worthwhile endeavor to seriously ask why a good and all-powerful creator would allow evil to exist in his creation. But I do wonder why we never ask those questions when things are going well. Why is it that we never say "Why me?" in reference to all the good things in our lives.

I have had the good fortune of being born to parents who cared for me very much and who saw that I had every advantage they could provide. I've had the luxury of spending seven years of my life in a classroom where it was my privilege to spend my days pondering the mysteries of God and how I can live in that mystery and help others to find their place in it as well. I have a wife who is selfless and loving in a way that challenges me; a person with whom covenant faithfulness is as easy as it ever can be in this life; a person with whom it is the very definition of blessedness to share life. I have a daughter who constantly surprises me with her ability to find new ways to make me adore her more than I ever could have imagined. We expect that Hannah will have a little brother any day now as well. We all live in a spacious and comfortable home and have no idea what it is like to even think about missing a meal except by choice. I pastor a church of caring and compassionate people who are dedicated to Christ and are seeking to be obedient to him. Why me? Why should I enjoy all of these things? Or any of them? What could I have done or ever do to possibly deserve all of this?

I know there is a lot of legitimate pain and suffering in our world. I'm not trying to paint a rose-colored picture that ignores the dark places of our lives. But why is it that we consider good things the norm? Why do we regard them as things to which we are innately entitled but then lay all of the problems at God's feet or assume that they prove that God can not exist? Why should there be good rather than evil? Why should there be something rather than nothing?

These questions have been on my mind for some time now but they are brought to the forefront as I come to the book of Job this week. Job is caught in this strange cosmic test where God allows the Satan (in the Hebrew of Job, the definite article is affixed to its name) to take away every blessing Job has and to curse him with severe illness to see if he will remain faithful to God. Job proves remarkably true to the test saying that he must accept evil from the Lord as well as good. Later in this book he even makes this unbelievable confession of faith in God even in the midst of all his suffering where he says "Though he slay me, I will hope in him." (13:15)

I imagine that if some mysterious being of temptation called the Satan still has conversations with God like the one in the book of Job, then he must say to God "Of course, Dave Young reverences you. You've given him everything! But take away all that you have given him and then let's see what kind of faith he has!" When I think about my life in comparison to Job's, it seems laughable for me to even talk about trust or faith in God. But it is my hope that God's Spirit is working to form Job's kind of faith in me

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