WHY ME LORD?
Reading 1 Peter 4:12-5:11
(a) In the eventualities and varied experiences of life, at one
point or another, I'm sure we have all uttered the words which are no doubt in the
heart of every grieving parent who has lost their child, or every husband or wife
their partner - "WHY ME?"
(b) I know in the course of my pastoral ministry, many have uttered
these words to me.
(c) But as my wife on occasions has said, "WHY NOT ME?"
Being a Christian does not in any way insulate or cushion us from
the very real inevitable problems of life. In fact sometimes it would almost seem
that the OPPOSITE IS TRUE!! The Christian at
times seems to experience more than their fair share of problems
and troubles. A friend of mine once said, he never knew there was a devil until
he got saved. Life seemed easy until then!
(d) But the difference is, we have the availability of Divine
power, comfort, and assurance, to enable us to come through the other side of the
tunnel into the light!
(e) There are those who on such occasions turn their back on God
in the midst of tragedy, because they blame Him.
(f) I remember speaking to a man in a pub one night, who was literally
spewing out hatred towards God, because at some point, his little girl had died tragically.
I tried to tell him, because he felt as he did, he was rejecting
all the help, comfort and peace that God alone could give.
Because of his feelings against God, HE was the loser!
(a) For the Christian, it is difficult to remember on such occasions
that for gold to be purified it has to go through the fire!
(b) This brings all the impurities to the surface of the molten
metal where they can be removed.
(c) That beautiful chorus, "Spirit of The Living God",
says, "Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me."
(d) That must be the experience of each one of us, if we are to
become more like the Saviour, thus walking the road of true holiness. Let us be
under no delusion, it is a costly experience, one that often brings great pain and
(e) 1 Peter 4:12 says, "Think it not strange concerning the
fiery trial which is to try you" and it goes on to tell us that through that
experience, we become "...partakers of Christ's sufferings."
(f) So many in our corps have proved yet again in these recent
days, that Life cannot be all sunshine: the clouds and shadows WILL come.
The dark painful experiences come to all of us, sooner or later.
We cannot escape them! and when they come they prompt us to ask,
(a) In our own lives, we never see the complete picture. We simply
expend energy, and rack our brains to work out WHY things happen.
[b] Something we find it difficult to grasp, was mentioned on
the television, by Rev. Steve Chalk, speaking about Dunblane.
He said something like this, If I make a decision to do something,
it can affect many other people. But we cherish the freedom to do that. If God were
to control our every move, we would be but robots, fulfilling His every wish.
[c] It is difficult to accept the fact that we can find no rhyme
or reason to certain incidents, at least in this life.
(d) But with our limited knowledge of the whole picture, we have
no way of knowing where events, especially tragedies, fit in.
(e) We can but say that we are a part of God's omnipotent plan,
that reaches from eternity to eternity; a plan that was in the mind of God, even
before the world was created. Even then, He saw you and me in the future, and made
Let us remember, "HE PLANS FOR US IN LOVE, FOR HE STILL CARES!"
(a) We must constantly remind ourselves of the words of Paul in
1 Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by faith and not by sight."
If we try and reverse it and try to walk by SIGHT instead of faith,
we will fail miserably!
(b) Jesus says in John 13:7, "What I do thou knowest not
now, but thou shalt know hereafter." Or as it is translated in the Amplified
Bible, "You do not understand now what I am doing, but
you will understand later on."
(c) Because we lack the ability with these puny minds to comprehend
God's plan in it's completeness, He can only reveal part of it at once! The remainder
must be accepted in faith!
(d) Sometimes we may say but how can the Lord know what I am feeling;
how could He understand??
He understands and can help us because He has been through it
already!! The Bible is not exaggerating when it says, "He was in ALL ways tempted
like as we are, yet without sin."
(e) He understands us at such times, because even Jesus Himself,
when hanging upon the cross bearing the sins of this old guilty world, cried out
"WHY??" For the first time in the whole of His eternal existence, He could
no longer feel the presence of His Father, and He cried out in such anguish, "My
God, My God, WHY hast Thou forsaken me?"
(f) He wants to put His arms around you and me at such times,
and whisper to us that He understands completely, because He's been through it!
(a) The Rev. Francis W. Dixon, of Landsdown Baptist Church in
"If you are in trouble or perplexity, if you are overwhelmed
by the mystery of the things that have been happening to you, nestle into the arms
of Jesus. Tell Him that you love Him, and that by His grace and with His enabling
you are going to trust Him and rely upon His unfailing love and skill as Lord of
your life. When we come to the point of recognition that the One Who loves us, Who
has a plan for our lives, Who is working out that plan, and Who never makes a mistake,
is the Lord and when we acknowledge His sovereignty in our lives, then we are in
the place where we are willing to trust and obey, the place of quiet rest, and of
victory. Jesus says to each one of us,....."Some day when the mists have rolled
away, we'll understand."
(b) Many experiences of life make us more able to help others
in their similar difficulties.
(c) There is a wonderful portion of Scripture found in 2 Corinthians
1:4-5 from J.B. Phillips translation. "For He gives us comfort in all our trials
so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others
in their troubles that we receive from God. Indeed experience shows that the more
we share in Christ's immeasurable suffering the more we are able to give of His encouragement."
(d) If you can say to someone, "Yes I know what you're feeling,
because I've been through it!" It has a much sharper cutting edge, and can
be much more beneficial to the person concerned!
(e) Some years ago, David, the teenage son of one of our Soldiery
at a previous appointment, was knocked down, and sustained serious leg injuries.
In fact at one point they thought they might have to amputate.
When I spoke to David in Hospital, He said, that a nurse had said
to him, "I know how you feel!" "But", said David, "she
couldn't, because she'd never had to go through it!"
He went on to say, how he felt he'd been able to help other patients
waiting for similar operations to his own, because he had the experience!
(f) Around the same time, I met and spoke with an orthopedic surgeon,
who was a Christian. He said, "Some people seem to think that Christians shouldn't
have any problems" He spoke about his wife, and said how she never had any
patience with people who were ill. But she had experienced a long bout of illness
herself, and it had made her a much better person, in that she was able to understand
others who were ill and sympathise with them.
(a) It has often been said, that we should praise God for the
good AND THE BAD experiences in life. My wife has often said how she felt a compulsion
to praise God, even when her brother, a policeman, was so brutally murdered in Belfast
by the I.R.A.!!
(b) BUT AS WE LOOK INTO OUR HEARTS, I WONDER WHAT WE SEE?
I think we often concentrate on the actual problems, and find
it difficult to see our way past or through them!
It can be a bit like Peter, walking on the water - once he looked
at the waves instead of the Saviour - he began to sink!
(c) We must look away from our problems and difficulties, perhaps
even our pain and distress big though they be - or we will sink into them! We must
look to the Saviour!
(c) I remember in an Edinburgh hospital, meeting a man who had
one leg amputated above the knee, and a number of the toes on the other foot removed.
Sitting there in his wheelchair, you might think he was a good
candidate to be bitter and feel "WHY ME?" - BUT NOT AT ALL!!
ALL HE COULD SPEAK ABOUT WAS HOW FORTUNATE HE WAS, AND HOW SO
MANY PEOPLE WERE SO MUCH WORSE THAN HIMSELF!!!
(d) IF WE ALLOW THEM TO, OUR TROUBLES AND PROBLEMS CAN MAKE US
INTO SO MUCH BETTER PEOPLE - OR ALTERNATELY, WE CAN ALLOW THEM TO EMBITTER US AND
MAKE US MISERABLE, DESTROYING OUR USEFULNESS.
WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF GOD'S HELP IN ALL THE PERPLEXITIES OF LIFE
- IF WE'RE WILLING TO ACCEPT IT, INSTEAD OF BLOCKING THE CHANNEL WITH "WHY
(e) May God enable us to use every experience of life, to make
us BETTER and MORE EFFECTIVE FOR HIM!!
(f) The process of actually being used by Him, in the blessing
and helping of others, is, in itself, a healing balm to our souls!
Salvation Army Song Book Numbers
OUR GOD REIGNS
Prayer Chorus no 86 "Meet my need Lord"
(Prayer Chorus no 53 "Spirit of the Living God")