Why me?

 

Sometimes we just don’t appreciate things the way we should, pain and suffering for example. It is very difficult to survive without pain. Pain serves the very valuable function of telling us when we are in danger. The category of disorders, which this falls under, is HSAN - which stands for Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy. That’s a big name for a big problem.

 

How about suffering? Does suffering serve any good purpose? The answer, according to the Bible, is a resounding, “Yes!” So the next time you experience pain or suffering consider yourself fortunate. Both of these are actually gifts! “Why me,” we often wonder when we face adversity. Then after a little thought we may answer our self with,  “Why not me?” Let’s take a look at some Bible verses that pertain to this subject.

 

*   (Heb 5:7-10 NIV)  During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. {8} Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered {9} and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him {10} and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

*   (Mark 8:31-35 NIV)  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. {32} He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. {33} But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." {34} Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {35} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

*   (Acts 5:41-42 NIV)  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. {42} Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

*   (Acts 9:11-16 NIV)  The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. {12} In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." {13} "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. {14} And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." {15} But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. {16} I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

*   (Rom 5:1-8 NIV)  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, {2} through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. {3} Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope. {5} And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. {6} You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. {7} Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. {8} But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

*   (Rom 8:16-19 NIV)  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. {17} Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. {18} I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. {19} The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

*   (2 Cor 1:5-9 NIV)  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. {6} If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. {7} And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. {8} We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. {9} Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

*   (Phil 1:29-30 NIV)  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, {30} since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

*   (Phil 3:8-12 NIV)  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ {9} and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. {10} I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, {11} and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. {12} Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

*   (1 Th 5:9-11 NIV)  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. {10} He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. {11} Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

*   (Heb 2:9-11 NIV)  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. {10} In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. {11} Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

*   (Heb 10:30-39 NIV)  For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." {31} It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. {32} Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. {33} Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. {34} You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. {35} So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. {36} You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. {37} For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. {38} But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." {39} But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

*   (1 Pet 1:3-9 NIV)  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, {5} who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. {6} In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. {7} These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. {8} Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, {9} for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

*   (1 Pet 2:19-23 NIV)  For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. {20} But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. {21} To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. {22} "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." {23} When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

*   (1 Pet 4:12-19 NIV)  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. {13} But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. {14} If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. {15} If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. {16} However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. {17} For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? {18} And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" {19} So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

 

So suffering is not enjoyable but we can be joyous if we are suffering well and for the right reasons. Suffering is a growing experience and a teaching experience. Suffering is a test of faith and a test of determination. Jesus suffered, the apostles suffered, righteous Job suffered, and so why should we think we should be free from suffering in this life? Thank God Jesus came to earth as a child and grew into a man so that He understands our suffering.

 

*   (Luke 2:39-40 NIV)  When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. {40} And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

*   (Luke 2:48-52 NIV)  When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." {49} "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" {50} But they did not understand what he was saying to them. {51} Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. {52} And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

*   (Heb 4:15-16 NIV)  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. {16} Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

The suffering of Jesus brought the promise of eternal life for us. Our own suffering can assure we receive that promised gift!

*   (John 16:21 NIV)  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

 

We were born in suffering and we may die in suffering but we will live forever in joy that we could never appreciate if it were not for the suffering we now see and endure. Without contrast a thing cannot be seen nor appreciated. People say we don’t understand their situation because we never experienced their situation. How would we appreciate our eternity if we had nothing to compare it to?

 

*   (Rom 8:18 NIV)  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

 

Paul might as well have said there is no comparison. What we shall inherit cannot be conceived by our minds as they are today. Perhaps we can get just a glimpse from time to time and then that glimpse slips away before we can comprehend it. I will claim the prize. Why me? Why not me? Why not you?