Pondering the Why/Why Me Question (Part 2)

This part 2.  Last week I introduced the topic here.  As I said there, this is not a mutually exclusive list, nor should it be considered exhaustive.  Just my thoughts on the topic…         


             Fallen World:   We live in a world that is not as God originally created, that has been marred by our sin, and that results in great tragedy.  Children are born with disabilities, we get diseases and cancers, and tornadoes ravage the countryside.  To name just a few things that happen in a fallen world.  Basically, things aren’t the way they are suppose to be!   Maybe I have a gene mutation (something that we are looking into through genetic testing – more on this some other time).  Maybe I ate too many lemonheads that I chased with Mt Dew (maybe not healthy, but probably not the cause of cancer).  Stuff, you know, happens in a fallen world.  And it is often nothing we would ever want or ask for.  And yet, God uses our pain to draw us closer to Himself.  And sometimes He brings healing on this side of heaven and sometimes we have to wait.   In either case, we have the sure promises of His world.  He is making right what we have fowled up through our sin.    Creation eagerly waits with us, for the our full redemption (Romans 8:19)

                   Discipline:  I should probably start with Scripture to gets off on the right foot:  “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).  This verse, and the broader context, makes clear that the Lord disciplines his children.  The problem we have with this notion is that we hear the word discipline and we think punishment.  That is a very narrow view of discipline.  If we think through the analogy, we can think about all of the positive and negative reinforcements that parents provide children.  Another word that we might use positively is train.  We trained or disciplined not to run out in the street and we are working on not talking back!  So then, I see this trial as part of the Lord discipline of me.  He is disciplining me to depend more fully upon Him, to not look so closely to this world for comfort and pleasure, and to live out my testimony more fully.  To name a few things.  To be clear, I do not think the Lord is punishing me.  He is not paying me back for my transgressions.  That would violate the Cross of Christ.  When Christ said, “It is finished”, from the Cross, I believe Him.  That is, my sins were fully punished and forgiven there.  God will not punish, what He has forgiven through Christ.  That said, the Lord is fully committed to my sanctification and he may well use my cancer to as a sanctifying agent.  In that, I am blessed that God would love me that much.  (See also paragraph 10 of John Piper’s article, Don’t Waste Your Cancer, “We waste our cancer if we treat sin as casually as before”).

              God’s Sovereignty:  I told you these weren’t mutually exclusive points.  In fact, maybe I should have started with this one, as it is an overarching reality.  As a Presbyterian/Reformed-type fellow, my reading of the Bible leads me to see God’s sovereignty as one of the big themes of Scripture.   That God is sovereign (in charge, over all things, past, present, and future) is a very good thing.  I do a pretty good job of just messing things up, so I don’t think I’m fit for the job.    But, let’s be honest, God’s sovereignty also raises questions in our hearts.  The “why me” question for one.   And the “if God is_____, then _______?”  These questions are real and sometimes difficult.  However, I would rather have a good God whose ways I don’t understand (Isaiah 55:6-9) be sovereign, than an impotent god who is merely responding as best he can to the chaos of this world.   That’s not really a choice, but it’s one I don’t want all the same.  So, when I think of “why?” and “why me?”, part of my answer is to run to the arms of the one whom I know is in charge, of my little life and of this big world.  (See also paragraph 2 of John Pipers booklet:  “We waste our cancer if we do not believe it is designed by God.”)

So these are the thoughts rumbling in my head about why I am dealing with cancer at my age, at my place in life, at all, etc…  And whatever answers may be forthcoming or not (God doesn’t always satisfy our curiosity or our felt need for answers), I hang my hat on these verses:   So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  ~ 2 Cor 4:16-18

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