Summary: When we are hurting, the natural question is why. Here are a few reasons why hurts can be helpful
WHY ME LORD?
Bob Marcaurelle Job. 7:20; Rom. 8:28
Text: “Why do you use me for target practice? “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Job. 7:20, TEV; Rom. 8:28, NIV).
Most Christians do two things: say it is not right to question God and to question God. Who among us has not felt like asking, “God, why are you using me for your target practice?” The question exposes one of our deepest needs- a sense of purpose in pain, some kind of meaning to our apparently meaningless blows.
Are we just here, like seaweed, to be battered and blown by the winds and waves of trouble, or are we placed here, like boats, with power to travel through storms,with rudders to chart our course, and with a destination? Are we alone in the water or is there a God who placed us here for a reason and pain and seemingly unanswered prayers in times of pain, are part of some larger plan for good?
When God called Paul He told him all that he would suffer for his name (Acts 9:16. And, oh how he suffered- stonings, shipwrecks, sharp pain, slander, and beheading. But from the fire itself, he cried out, "We are not alone. There is a plan in this madness.In all things” he says, “God works for the good of those who love Him and are called to be a part of his purpose and designs” (Rom. 8:28 / See Ampl. Version)
If we approach horrible events philosophically, looking mostly for answers, we are doomed to be disappointed.
Is God the author of the death of my child?
Does God allow it?
Or do things just happen and God is there to help when it does? Who knows the origin?
We must approach such things practically and relationaly. As a human being, we are part of a suffering world, and therefore, should say, "Why not me? Who am I to be spared? Jesus was not. Paul was not. Most human beings are not. But as children of God, we can go on to ask,“Why me, Lord?” in a more positive way. We do that when we ask God to help us find the good we can dig out of the bad.
Robert Schuller says, “Within every adversity lies a sleeping possibility.” Today we look at some things God can do with our hurts if we let Him.
I. HURT CAN DRAW US TO GOD.
The very fact that we say, “Why me, Lord?” means we have been driven to God and to a deeper level of communication with Him. C.S. Lewis says God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts to us in our pain. We humans may go to God to accuse God, to bargain with God, to shake our fist at God, to bow before God and accept the good with the bad, to ask why or to tell Him we will not question Him - but we go!
Illustration: When the storm hit the ship Jonah was sleeping in, the Bible says, “All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god” (Jon. 1:5). I love the story of the plane where the pilot told the passengers an engine was on fire. One man yelled frantically - “Do something religious - somebody!” A Catholic pulled out her beads. An Episcopalian pulled out his prayer book. The unchurched put their face in their hands and prayed. And a Baptist took off his hat and took up an offering. When the ship is sinking or the plane is going down,thoughts turn naturally to God.
The New American Standard Bible says, “God CAUSES all things to work together for good.” The New International Version says, “In all things God WORKS for the good of those who love him.” Things do not work together for good,all by themselves. They do this when we put everything in God’s hands, and ask Him to teach us the life lessons we need and the ministry we may find in life’s hurting places.
II. HURTS CAN DRAW US TO OTHERS.
One of these good things God might work, is to give us more love for others, and less selfishness. It’s amazing how selfish we are. We cling to our clan, our family, our friends, our church. When we see a street person, a wheelchair, a blind person, or any other of life’s walking wounded - we shy away. Why? Because they are different! They make us uncomfortable. We wish them well but do nothing to help them. It is only until life thrusts us into some great hurt that we join them. Our clan changes. We see life through their eyes, because we are looking from where they are.
Illustration: Christopher Reeves, who played Superman, learned he wasn’t Superman when a fall from a horse left him paralyzed from the neck down. Michael J. Fox,diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, said goodbye to his television career. But he said, “Hello!” to finding a cure for Parkinson’s and to working with and for all who are afflicted. Christopher Reeves, like Fox, works with and for the paralyzed. Many people turn their hurts into helping others, and we who know the Lord, can go a step further, and help them find the hand of God and the hope of heaven.