When life gets hard, sometimes you feel singled-out, alone, confused, or scared. You might be asking: “Why me?”
Perhaps you feel that God must be punishing you for some reason. Why else would this be happening to you? Be assured—you are not alone. God has not abandoned you and he has not singled you out, no matter how you feel right now. Whatever you are going through, God’s promise is that he will see you through and give you the strength and direction you need. God wants you to know that he understands how you feel, he knows more about your situation than you do, and he saw this coming before you did. Most importantly, he began to work on his resolution for you before you even knew to ask Him for help! The reality is that God is for you. He is not against you.
Your feelings of “Why me?” are real. They are based on real events, but your initial conclusions may not be accurate. While we don’t want to minimize the pain you feel in any way, we do want to try to help you look more closely at why you feel singled out and whether or not you’ve arrived at a valid conclusion. We’re here to help you reexamine your individualized system of beliefs. We’re here to help you discover the answers. We’re here to help you survive the difficulties you’re going through and begin to truly live!
We tend to absorb our beliefs from our parents, teachers, friends, media, life experiences, books, etc. Some of what we believe may sound right, but in reality, our views might be inaccurate or too narrowly defined. We have bought into many ideas and concepts that distort correct thinking and actually work against us. For example, we have learned untruths that cause us to live within the role of the victim—either a victim of circumstances or of our past. These erred beliefs cause us to cry out in pain, “Why me?”
God’s answer is that we are not victims—we are victors! God said we can trust him in everything and that every event in our lives should be counted as joy (James 1:2). He has also told us he will cause good to come out of every situation, for those who love him (Romans 8:28). When we ask, “Why me?” it’s really because we don’t believe God. Our belief system opposes God, so we feel singled out and victimized.
Most of us believe, at least on some level, that we need to understand everything. We need to know WHY. When we don’t, we may feel like God has betrayed us in some way. In reality, it’s not God who is confusing us or betraying us, it is our own belief system. All those inconsistent beliefs cause us to question God’s fairness in what we’re experiencing.
For example, we may have come to believe that we deserve to be blessed because we have been a good person, fed the hungry, or helped our neighbor. We often believe that the good things we do should keep us from harm’s way. Then when something bad happens, we are confused and ask God why.
Belief systems can be changed. When we discover that something we have believed, even for a long time, is no longer valid, we can change our mind and fully embrace a new belief. If you are crying out “Why me, God?” you must believe there is a God out there who hears you. Maybe there was a time when you didn’t believe there was a God at all. Maybe you still don’t believe in God, and you’re just crying out “Why me?”
As you reflect on your situation, here’s a story that might provide guidance.
There was a man named Augustine, who was born in 354 A.D. When he was 19, he read an essay by Cicero about the meaning of “truth,” and immediately dedicated himself to pursuing such an intriguing, yet elusive notion.
During his philosophical journey, Augustine experienced a great deal of pain and suffering. He went through phases of severe depression and grief. If there was a God, why was he witnessing things that seemed to be contrary to God’s character? Truth and evil seemed irreconcilable, so Augustine kept jumping from philosophy to philosophy.
In his thirties, Augustine had a supernatural experience “as if a light of relief from all anxiety flooded into [his] heart.” It was then that “all the shadows of doubt were dispelled” and he accepted God as part of his life.
Although Augustine would become a great man of faith, he continued to struggle with the pain, suffering, and evil that God allowed to exist in the world. He wrote:
“There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally understand how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still believe that God cares about human affairs.”
Augustine grappled with this paradox for decades. He wrote volumes about God’s nature in Scripture and God’s apparent desire for humanity. In the end, he determined that God created us for a relationship with Him and that real relationships are impossible if we are being controlled, like puppets. Apparently, God wanted us to have the capacity to freely choose or reject him, and this free will gave us the capacity to choose love or hate, good or evil. Before he died, Augustine concluded that “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil at all.”
You might still be asking “Why Me?”. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. Anselm of Canterbury once used a phrase, ” fides quaerens intellectum,” which means “faith seeking understanding.” One can only seek to grow in understanding by questioning.
Instead of asking God “Why me?” Try asking Him “What are you trying to teach me, Lord?”
Sometimes the “Why” questions can only go so far. Sometimes thoughts of philosophy and religion leave us searching even more for real answers. Sometimes we need to stop and focus on the “What” and the “Who” in life.
The great thinker A. W. Tozer once shared, “When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself.”
If there is a God, how do you think He tries to get close to us? Who can you trust to give you the truth about God, about life after death, and about how to conquer your internal tendency to do wrong?