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Some years ago Chuck Swindoll wrote a small but very helpful book under the title. "Why this? Why now? Why me?"  These are probably the three basic questions that we are somehow compelled to ask when we receive 'bad news' - news that is unwelcome at best and devastating at worst.




What we refer to as bad news can come in many ways but it always has the same impact in that it causes us to ask the question, "Why this?" It may be the news that you didn't want to hear from your doctor. The scan revealed that all was not well with your physical condition. Further tests had been ordered but they were expected to confirm the initial bad news.


A police officer stands at the front door obviously wishing that he didn't have to be the one to tell you about the accident and the death of someone so close to you and so loved by you.


The inter-office memo seemed so impersonal when it appeared in your "in box" and advised you that due to restructuring, downsizing, reduced profits or whatever, your position was no longer viable.


Such is the impact of this kind of news that it challenges what we have believed about the fairness of life and the goodness of God. Suddenly our whole belief system is shattered. Our emotions are numbed. Nothing makes any sense. You are convinced that any minute now you will wake from this bad dream. But, as the truth dawns, you realize that this is not a dream. It is reality. And the question begins to infiltrate every part of your being, "Why this?"


Whatever "this" may be, it does not fit with what you thought or expected could be your experience.




There never is a good time for bad news. Especially is this the case when the bad news has to do with terminal illness.


Imagine a couple who have just taken early retirement. They have spent the last few years planning their trip of a lifetime. They have enjoyed excellent heath right through their married life and now they are ready to reap the rewards of their diligence in the way they have worked and saved.


Then their local GP calls and asks her if she would come by his office tomorrow to discuss the results of her routine check-up. They sense immediately that the news is not good. Why now? they ask. If this had to happen, why not in a few years time?


The trip can be postponed, even cancelled. But there is so much they want to do and see before the disease takes it ultimate toll. She wants to be there for her daughter's wedding……for the birth of their first grandchild…. for their son's graduation. So the list goes on. To their way of thinking and believing, the timing is all wrong.


If there is a God out there somewhere, couldn't He have arranged the timing of this event better? For that matter, couldn't He have stopped the event in the first place? Why now of all times?




This kind of thing happens to other people, not to you. There is something unjust about you being the subject of this bad news. You can understand if this event, circumstance or situation happened to some other people you know. People whose lives were not as deserving of good things as yours.


This question springs out of our sense of fairness and justice. It emerges when bad things happen to good people (in this case, us) while good things happen to bad people (in this case, them). Or so it seems to us.


However, there are three other questions that we must address alongside these three that we have introduced thus far. The answers to the first three questions can only be found as we wrestle with the next three. I will introduce these in my next posting.

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