It’s one of the hardest questions anyone who experiences something catastrophic has to face, and I’m sure it’s on the minds of many injured in the Orlando shootings this past weekend: “Why me?”
Why did I get cancer?
Why did I lose my child?
Why did that drunk driver have to run into my car?
Why did the fire take my house and spare my neighbor’s?
Why didn’t my marriage work out?
Why did I have to lose my job?
Why did I travel to Orlando so I could get shot in a restroom?
Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?
One of our Catch members addressed this with the following: “Before coming down with cancer 6 years ago I may have been less receptive to understanding how good can triumph over pain. I went through a period of asking ‘Why me?’ It wasn’t until I could say ‘Why not me?’ that God could use me to touch the lives of others and walk alongside them.”
“Why not me?” changes the whole perspective. To be sure it’s not the first reaction. One would have cause to question someone’s humanity if it was, but at some point along the way, “Why me?” can and will turn into “Why not me?” if and when one gets God’s perspective.
“Why not me?” says there is a privilege to pain. One of those privileges pointed out by James in the Bible is character, as in: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).
Our reader points out still another privilege in pain: the ability to identify with someone else’s pain and come alongside them. I can try and comfort someone who has lost a leg, but that can go only so far as I stand there with my two legs doing just fine. Someone else who has gone through the same thing and has gained victory over it, is someone who has the right to come alongside and bring comfort and hope.
Coming alongside is what brings one out of self-pity into being able to reach out to someone else. Coming alongside is what it’s all about. Coming alongside is the way God uses us in the world.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 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. 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. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Why me? … Why not me?