Tag Archives: why?

August 14; What’s Fair?

Ezekiel 17:1-19:14, 20:1-29

When bad things happen, the temptation is there to think, “That’s not fair,” “Why that person?” “Why me?” People have been known to shake their fists at God when they think they don’t deserve whatever hardship has come their way, when they think He’s not being fair.

Ezekiel will tell us things in this life aren’t fair – because WE are not fair. In reality, God is the only fair one around.

Let me ask you this: What would your requirements be for someone to be able to live a trouble-free life? Think about it. Maybe jot down the things a person would have to believe or do in order to get a free pass on problems.

Ask a friend or your spouse to make their own list. Put that challenge out to your co-workers, your Sunday School class, your HOA:

“Everybody, write down what you believe should be required for a person to be able to avoid disease, heartache, and tragedy. What are the things that ought to result in happiness?”

I would venture to say the odds of getting the exact same list from the majority are pretty slim. I’d be surprised if two people had the exact same requirements listed. How fair would it be for any one of you to determine how a person should live in order to escape hardship? We all have different ideas of what is fair.

Now, let’s ask people in a remote African village what they think about your list. Would it be fair to expect them, or a homeless person, or a Guatemalan refugee to follow your rules? How likely are they to go to church regularly, or give generously to charities, or volunteer at soup kitchens? You would be unfair to expect them to adopt a rescue puppy, or to coach their kid’s soccer team in order to escape hardship.

Here are God’s requirements for living a trouble-free life: THERE ARE NONE. He makes it clear that as long as there is sin in the world, bad things happen. So God defined sin for us so that we would know that all of us have sinned.  He set forth a plan that is the same for you as it is for me or the people in that African tribe.  He provided one way of cleansing sin, through the blood of the Savior Jesus Christ. And He promises to be with His children and help us navigate through this life until we get home. Where, by the way, we will live that trouble-free life we’re looking for.

God’s plan is fair because it has nothing to do with our middle class American values, or a world-view of tolerance and acceptance. It has nothing to do with church attendance, or cash flow. God’s plan is fair because it has everything to do with HIM.

I don’t think it’s a sin necessarily to ask God, “Why?” when bad things happen. I just think it’s a waste of time. The answer is pretty clear. If we think God owes us a good life just because we are good people, we are in for a world of hurt. Because none of us are all that good.

So, what’s fair? There is only one answer to that question. God is fair. Period.

Job 1-2; It’s Not The “Why” You Might Think

Have you ever asked the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I think most of us have at one time or another questioned why a God-loving, church-going, volunteer at homeless shelters, a giver to charities, and an all around nice guy gets ALS, or loses his job, or has a child addicted to drugs. Why does a godly church secretary find herself fighting cancer diagnosed late, effecting her major organs, in great pain, and having a severe reaction to chemo?

Why do you suffer? Why do I?

If you read the book of Job hoping to get those answers, you will be disappointed. Job never finds out “why” those things happened to him. Oh his friends think they know “why.” But they don’t. Not really.

If you read the first two chapters of Job you’ll discover the deeper question that Satan asks of God: “Do people follow You, God, because You bless them? Do they worship You so they can feel good? Do they obey You for what’s in it for them?”

Satan’s premise is that as soon as hard times hit, people turn their backs on God. Is he right to think that?

What about you? Have you given God an ultimatum: “I’ll serve You, God, as long as you don’t mess with my health, or my family. I’ll worship You, but don’t touch my career. If you do, I’m outta here.”

The question isn’t “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The question is “What do good people do when bad things happen?”

I am looking forward to spending some time in Job. I want to hear what the world has to say about worship. I want to define the “why” of my worship of God. And I want to hear from God about why He deserves my worship in every circumstance of life.

When all is said and done, I want to say with Job:

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised,

and mean it.

October 25 – Why Me?

Luke 10-11; Jon 10:22-42

I’ve shared with you that I had to evacuate my home during Hurricane Matthew recently. It was an odd feeling, backing out of my drive, watching the garage door close, and not knowing what I’d find when I returned. I paused before driving away and looked at the house I’d bought only a month before. Would it even be there two days from now?

I sat there for a moment and thought of my piano, pictures of loved ones, things with value only to me for their sentimental importance. I prayed, “It’s all Yours anyway, Lord. Take care of Your stuff.” And He did.

The next Sunday my church family greeted each other with praise on our lips. The island had been spared from devastation. Many trees miraculously fell between houses instead of on them. Flooding was minimal. We were all sharing our stories of how God had intervened on our behalf.

But one woman, a dear lady who is usually quick to praise the Lord, didn’t join in. I asked her how her house fared and she said, “Not so good.” The trees in her yard had not missed her house. She had major damage from the same storm I and others had escaped.

That morning our pastor spoke to us about that very thing. The knowledge that our island was spared from the worst of the storm should drive us to our knees in humility. The people of Haiti had a different outcome. The Carolina coast was devastated by that storm. Lives were lost. Homes destroyed. Families uprooted.

Did all those people forget to pray? Did God answer our prayers because we are so special? Was this God’s punishment toward everybody else, including my friend?

I am not ashamed to praise God for sparing my home. He did that. I rejoice in that. But I didn’t deserve it. The goodness of God was shown in the fact that all of us were’t wiped out in the storm. I don’t want to miss that example of God’s goodness. Even my friend, who is in the process of putting her house back together, is able to thank God. She rejoices in how He is working in her life through this ordeal.

The question when bad things happen isn’t “Why me?” We are sinful people. We have rejected God, and even those of us who have accepted God’s grace continue to fail Him. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen to us, if we think we ought to get what we deserve.

The question should be, “Why NOT me?” And the answer is God. We don’t deserve God’s mercy. But He is merciful anyway. We don’t deserve His protection, but He still protects us. We deserve His wrath, but He forgives us when we ask.

Dear God, I want to be able to recognize Your goodness in all things. I want to see Your hand as You answer prayer, as You work miraculously in my life, as You are faithful in all circumstances. I am humbled by Your care. I feel like Paul who called himself a wretched man, chief of sinners. Why me, Lord? Why are You so good to me? I want to live a grateful life. I want to serve You just because You love me so much. Help me to see Your love in everything that happens to me today. And may I live today with praise on my lips.

 

Jan 6 – I Will Trust God

Job 10-13

Job is hurting. He’s at his wit’s end and doesn’t know how to make things better. He doesn’t even know why his life has turned out like it has. He feels alone, ridiculed, misunderstood. He wants to ask God some questions. He even says he’s ready to argue with God. And he can’t figure out why God is treating him like an enemy.

Sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself crying out to a silent God? Do you have the “why” questions that are not being answered? Does it feel like God has turned on you?

Job doesn’t know what we know: that his losses are of Satan, not God. He doesn’t have the privilege of opening God’s Word and reading God’s heart.

But we do.

The answers you are looking for aren’t found within you, or in some self-help book, or in Oprah. The answers are found in the pages of God’s Word.

I like Job’s point of view. He said, even if God kills me, I will trust Him.

There’s the answer you are looking for.

A mother tells her young son not to play in the street. Why? “Because I said so.” A father insists his teenage daughter be home by 11. “Trust me,” he says when she asks why.

Often, when we mature, we realize the answers to our “why” questions. And maturity comes from studying God’s Word, by getting to know God’s heart, and by trusting Him in every circumstance, allowing Him to prove He can be trusted.

Somehow, when our relationship with God is mature, the questions we have just don’t seem all that important. God replaces our uncertainty with Himself.

Then, with Job, we can say that no matter what comes, “I will trust God.”

Dear Father, I like being your child. But sometimes my curiosity, or my hurt finds me asking, “why?”. God, I want to trust you, even if I never have the answers I think I need this side of heaven. May I not let my questions get in my way of a close relationship with You. Because, Dear Lord, nothing is more important than the sweet fellowship I enjoy as your child.

Jesus’ Answer For The “Why’s” of Life

A godly man suffers with ALS. A teenager who loves the Lord loses her battle with cancer. A baby is born with his stomach outside his body. A godly woman buries her 22 year old son who died in an auto accident. ISIS murders hundreds of people who name the name of Jesus.

Jesus met a man born blind. His disciples asked him: Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.‘”

Sometimes we dig way too deep to find the answer to the “why’s” of life. Is there some special purpose for suffering? There certainly is! And here it is:

So Jesus can be revealed to a lost world.

Everything – E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G – that happens in this life happens for that reason. Your best day reveals God’s blessings. Your struggles reveal his strength. Your mourning reveals his comfort. Your changed life reveals his grace.

Next time you are tempted to ask, Why is this happening to me?, read John 9:3 again. The question you should be asking is, What is it about Jesus that is being revealed through this circumstance I am facing?

Dear God, thank you for being intimately interested in everything that happens to us in this life. You are ever present, all knowing, sovereign. Forgive us when we concentrate so much on the day-to-day that we lose sight of your perfect plan. May your children, in all walks of life, in all circumstances, be faithful to reveal YOU as you would have us do. Help us to remember that this life is about You, and your passion is that every man, woman, and child will come to know you as Savior and Lord. Help us to look at our circumstances as opportunities to share you with those who are lost without you.