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Why Me?

Sooner or later, all of us will have reason to ask the question “Why me, Lord?” Every person who lives long enough will eventually encounter circumstances that are difficult to explain theologically:  heartache, betrayal, cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, divorce, rape, loneliness, infertility, rejection–these and a million other sources of human suffering produce inevitable questions that trouble the soul.  “Why me, Lord?”

Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t be fooled by the happy faces you see on Sunday morning. Everybody who comes to church has a story that includes pain and suffering. Behind each smiling face you will discover a tale of pain, difficulty, heartache, and many unanswered questions. Not that we aren’t happy–we are–or at least most of us are, but no one gets a free ride through life.  That's why our look at Romans 8 is so life-giving.  Let's dig in.

18 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  ROMANS 8:18

Paul invites us to make a comparison of those two things. Most of us see only our sufferings.  But there is another side–the glory side. There are sufferings and then there is glory.  
Knowing this changes our response to suffering and difficulties:  

  • Denial - This can’t be happening.
  • Anger - I can’t believe this is happening.
  • Blame - They did this to me. It’s their fault.
  • Acceptance - Trust God through it and learn from it.

You can deny it, you can get angry, you can blame someone else, or you can accept what happens to you and begin to learn from it. Of those four ways, only the last one is a truly Christian way of dealing with the difficulties of life. When trouble comes, you really only have two choices. Either you can become a victim or you can become a student.

Our Temporary Normal
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  ROMANS 8:19-22  

Be Clear On This:  We live in a broken world where suffering, evil and hurt are real.  This reality causes some to question the goodness/fairness of God and they turn away from Him.  But know this:   Even when things are bad in our world, God is still good and will one day prove it.
The Christian viewpoint on suffering is to say, “Yes, it’s bad. But it’s not going to last forever. Yes, it’s terrible, but this isn’t the final story. This isn’t the last chapter. Yes, we suffer, but God has ordained that our suffering is temporary. Something better for us is on the way.”

Today’s Troubles Teach Powerful Truths
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. ROMANS 8:23-25  

The Bible says God allows our pain for a purpose. Verses 24-25 tell us that through our suffering God wants to develop two qualities in us:
  • Hope
  • Patience
Hope is that settled confidence that looks to the future, knowing that God will someday keep all his promises. Patience is the ability to endure present hardship because you have hope in the future.

Our suffering is educational in that it teaches us hope and patience–two qualities that can’t be gained any other way. You only hope for that which you do not have. If you have it, you don’t have to hope for it. But if you don’t have it, then hope teaches you to wait patiently for it.

Today’s Troubles Prove My Need for God
Suffering strips away the mask of self-sufficiency and reveals our utter helplessness.  It forces us to confront our own inabilities and that is a good thing.  Here's why:

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  ROMANS 8:26-27 

Paul is telling us that in our weakness, when we feel desperate about the things that truly matter to us, and we don’t know what to say, and all we can do is cry out “Oh God!” the message is, “Don’t worry. That’s enough because there is someone inside you who is praying for you.”

We know that Jesus is in heaven praying for us. But Paul goes a step beyond that. When you come to the moment of complete exhaustion and can no longer frame the words, you don’t have to worry. The Holy Spirit will pray for you. In your weakness he is strong. When you cannot speak, he speaks for you.

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