I can remember several different occasions in my past, when some sudden unfortunate disaster came upon me. These were times that were serious enough and frightening enough to evoke the question, “Why me”?
When I was about six or seven years old my family was on vacation somewhere in the Northern United States. I don’t remember where we were but I’ve never forgotten my, “Why Me” ordeal. My sisters and I were playing in the water at the beach. All was fun and games until I stepped on a broken beer bottle.
At the mention of hospital and stitches I cried out to my parents, “NO”! and then “Why Me”? Well then, Who, my father asked. Would you wish this on the little girl swinging on the swing set? Maybe on the baby over there, crawling across the grass? You’ll be fine. You’re brave, right? You’re a big boy and you can handle this, right? Looking back on that incident, it should have been the thoughtless idiot that broke the bottle in the first place and threw it in the lake. The fact was, it was me and nothing in this world could have changed it. Seven stiches later and I am here today to reminisce about it.
I have also survived a tree branch up side of my head, which cost me the suffering of fourteen stitches. I’ve survived a twisted ankle, two broken toes, a pitchfork stabbed into the side of my knee, a dog attack, third degree burns on my right foot, a severely scraped and gravel encrusted knee and the list goes on. Every one, a “Why Me” moment in history.
They certainly do build character but hopefully, each of us was able to learn from them. Hopefully we have found a way that we can use our, “Why Me” moments to help someone else avoid the same trauma. Hopefully we can use the experiences to teach others. What a shame it would be to waste a good hurt.
Recently two of my friends have expressed to me, “Why me”. One has broken his knee twice with only seven days between the two accidents. The other, a long list of problems from a breakup and loss of health, to the recent loss of his job. I immediately recalled the book of Job in the Old Testament.
Job struggled to understand why he was suddenly and completely destroyed to the point of wishing and waiting to die. Even though Job knew he was a God-fearing follower and practiced nothing but righteous living, he believed that God had unfairly taken back every gift that was ever awarded to him. His friends offered their opinions and advice and Job even went so far as to demand an explanation from God.
The book of Job has many lessons on suffering. I would like to share some of the lessons that I picked up on. Suffering can be helpful. Now you’re thinking I have gone entirely mad but follow along with me here and let me know if you disagree.
I believe that suffering can bring us to God just as it did for Job. God can help us to understand, endure and deliver us from the suffering. When suffering, we will be much more willing to learn and listen to God. If we stop long enough to consider what Jesus Christ suffered on the cross. We realize that our suffering is not the worst that can be suffered. Our suffering will remind us that there is much suffering all around the world and that we are not the only one suffering at any given point. This suffering is temporary, there is an ending. We will now have the time to analyze our situation and seek the reason and solution for our suffering. We may see the foolishness in our striving for independence and be more open to being helped by others. And, as I mentioned earlier, now that we have suffered, we will be more sensitive to others who are suffering and be better able to comfort them.
On the flip side of all this, suffering can be harmful if it has us withdraw from others who want to help us. If our suffering forces us away from God and has us reject God and blame him then our suffering, would only bring joy to Satin. We must not forget that God can bring good out of bad situations. Suffering would be pointless if we refused to ask questions and learn from the experience. Job came dangerously close to accusing God of being unjust and he could have led his friends away from God. We don’t want to do this. Suffering would be particularly harmful to us if we allow it to make us self-centered, selfish and full of pity. If suffering were to lead us to refusing to make changes in our lives if we needed to, then Satin would win again.
Suffering can lead us in many directions. We have choices that we can make. What will your choice be?