Today’s church sermon centered around the following theme, “May we trust God this week with whatever comes our way!”
All I could think was, uh oh! THis is not going to be a good week! THings are going to happen to try to undo this trust. My first instinct was to leave, hide, run! Hold my ears and say lalala until the pastor stopped speaking!
As I listened I heard some good news. Good news from the Pastor and good news from God. God has a way of speaking louder at times. What I heard was an answer to the question, “Why me?”
Isn’t this the question we always ask? Why me? Why is this happening to me? Bad things seem to happen over and over! Why can’t I just get a break? I just want some peace and quiet! I just want to pay my bills! I just want a little extra spending money! I just want good health! I just want my friend back! I just want…insert whatever it is you want (or need).
Well, we may never get a specific answer to why me for each specific situation but, how about we start asking a new question; “why not me?”
I know, I must be crazy, right? Well, that wouldn’t be the first time someone has called me that. And maybe they are right. But this was by far originally my idea.
Our church does something called “God stories” where people of the congregation share stories of times when God has helped them in their lives. One couple shared a story that was seemingly unbelievable, not in the amount of devastation but just how one thing after another kept going wrong. Their story wasn’t about how God rescued them or turned their pain and trouble into something great. It was simple a lesson in learning to say, “Why not me?”
Seriously, if you could take all of your troubles and give them to someone else, would you do it? Maybe a stranger? Maybe your worst enemy? What about something really painful? Would you knowingly give that to someone else? Maybe you would but, I know I would feel terrible doing that to anyone.
So why not you? Why not me? Why do we deserve troubles any less than someone else. Honestly, do you truly know anyone else that has no troubles? Troubles are just a part of life, they don’t go away. We just need to learn how to live and love despite them.
In fact, the bible tells us that trials and troubles are something to cherish and appreciate:
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Yes, these are the things that help us grow in faith. Without them, we would remain like infants, immature in faith and wisdom. Would you really want to give up all of God’s blessings and teachings in order to coast through life with no “problems” at all?
In this same way, we must not protect our children. Yes, we want to keep them from harm, from troubles but, we aren’t doing them any favors. Now, I am not saying to allow them to stick their fingers in the electrical socket or wander into a busy street but, as they grow, we need to guide them to wise choice making and decisions while letting them feel the consequences of both their actions, and the actions of others. You see, if God is allowing something in their lives, it is for their growth and good. You may not understand but, protecting them from hurt and pain is keeping them from learning the lessons of God’s love and grace. It is preventing them from growing up. As much as we parents want our children to stay small, I doubt any of you want them to become adults with the minds of a child.
James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We must allow the trials to continue on into completion. We cannot follow mere feelings but, rather lead our hearts in the proper direction, to follow what the mind knows. The mind knows that God is shaping us in wonderful ways.
What if we just started saying, “why not me?” What if we embraced our trials as learning experiences? What if we learned to consider them joy? To consider them a priviledge? Of course we will still have pain! Of course we will still suffer! But aren’t we going to do that anyway? So instead of letting it get us down, why not find a way to embrace trials, to live despite them? Why wait until that perfect time to live when we can be living now?
I’ll leave you with the concluding thoughts from today’s sermon as they have stayed with me and continue to swirl in my mind.
“… God does not intend to defeat us by the trials that come our way. As we trust God, they can be our greatest opportunity of spiritual growth. May we trust God this week with whatever comes our way!”
– Pastor Sam Mountain