Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

LIFE ISSUES

In my last post I tried to identify the three basic questions that emerge when we are faced with adversity. "Why This?" "Why Now?" "Why Me?"

 

But to maintain balance in our attempts to answer these questions, I want to suggest that there are three further questions that need to be asked.

 

WHY NOT THIS?

 

Why do we think that we should be exempt from certain categories of adversity? We each belong to the human species. We each breathe the same air. We are each equally mortal. The Bible makes this clear in numerous places, not least of which is Hebrews 9/27 (NLT): "And just as each person is destined to die…." Of course, the particular means whereby we die is the issue before us. "Why not this?"

 

Walk through the children's ward of any hospital. Consider the TV documentaries of the poverty and suffering that exists in so many parts of the world. Then ask yourself the question, "Why not this?"

 

But the bad news may not be about our mortality but that of someone we love. Equally, it may not be about death but the impact of a long term disability or disease. A stroke. A degenerative brain disease.

 

WHY NOT NOW?

 

The thinking that produces this question recognizes that death, disease and damage is no respecter of age. We like to think, understandably, that we want (and deserve) to live a good long life. After all, doesn't the Bible teach us that "Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty." (Psalm 90/10 NLT). As we have already noted, there is no good time to receive bad news.

 

WHY NOT ME?

 

Adversity comes in many shapes and sizes and it does not discriminate by giving greater attention to some people and not to others. While it's true that some people appear to have more than their fair share of negative experiences, all of us will experience adversity. What makes me think that I ought to be granted some form of exemption? I am part of the fallen human race. I am subject to the same negatives as the rest of our human race. Why not me?

 

Actually, I suspect that we will never answer those 6 questions to our heart's satisfaction. The answers we produce and examine will always leave us less than satisfied and at peace. We must learn to live with the tension of ideas, thoughts and concepts that are incomplete. The complete answers are locked away in the mysteries of God's sovereign will.

 

Nonetheless, I believe we ought to wrestle with the questions. No good purpose is served by adopting a fatalistic response that shrugs its shoulders. But our wrestling will produce much angst if we fail to leave the full comprehension of these issues with our God. More often than not, He's not telling us the answers. He just gives us glimpses along the way.

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