February 24, 2021
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
“Why me?” is perhaps the most common question we ever struggle with as Christians. It is the burning question of Job in our new sermon series.
And it is perhaps best answered directly between you and God.
Decades ago I was an overly-enthusiastic young Christian. We hung with a passionately spiritual crowd back then, and the atmosphere was infectious – it seemed everyone wanted to pursue a deep relationship with God, no matter the cost. That kind of reckless abandon is often good, but (like the disciples) we didn’t really have any idea what we were getting ourselves into.
In those years I occasionally (but not often) cried out to God, “Please don’t leave me where I’m at!” I was beginning to see my sins and selfish tendencies more clearly back then, and they were disturbing. Apart from God I learned I can be a real self-centered, arrogant jerk. And in those moments, those times when I really saw myself most accurately before God, that’s what I would pray: “Lord, I see who I am and I don’t like it! Please don’t leave me here! I don’t want to be forever struggling with these sins. Please don’t leave me where I’m at!”
Fast forward many years to middle-age, when I developed some abdominal pains that would not go away. As weeks began to pass and answers for the pain were not found, I became more and more frightened. Am I going to die from this? Finally one night I dropped to my knees and cried out to God: “What is this, Lord? Why the pain? What are you doing?” I wept tears of frustration for many minutes, and wrestled in confusion. Why, Lord, why?
And then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, these words popped into my head:
“I’m not leaving you where you are at.”
My tears stopped at once, and all my questions fled. I understood immediately. He had heard my prayer, all those times, all those years ago. He was listening. He knew. He understood. Wow, I hadn’t prayed that prayer in years, I’d almost forgotten about it… but He had not.
So this illness was all part of His work in me, the work He’s begun and the work He promises to finish. Those words that day, that touch from God, sustained me for literally years of heartache and fear as we sorted out my health. And today, I can honestly say I thank God for that illness, because through it I’ve gained a maturity, perspective and compassion I never would have known otherwise.
What is God doing in your life today? Are you fighting through times of difficulty and challenge? Trust God to bring you out of the ashes of despair! He’s done it for multitudes of people before you, and He is ever willing to do it again!