Why Not Me?
There have been more than a few times in my pastoral career when I've had a stark revelation when I'm counseling someone or offering them guidance.
I would be sitting with them, listening and suddenly realize that my counsel was not what they were seeking at all. What they were seeking was an answer to the question, "Why?"
"Why did this happen to me?"
"Why am I in this predicament?"
"Why am I struggling to move on?"
"Why am I still addicted?"
"Why does God seem to be silent?"
Our questions of "Why?" are often at the heart of all of our conflicts, issues, challenges and frustrations in life. They are also at the core of so many of our interpersonal struggles with others. And they are almost always at the foundation of our problems with religion and faith.
I had this epiphany the other day when I was fighting my way through some moments of self-pity. I was asking my usual "Why?" question, which is fairly self-centered.
"Why me?" I asked, this time audibly to no one in particular because I was all alone in my room when I asked it.
The answer came back, "Why not you?" It was a clear thought in my head at that moment---too clear to be random, and too pointed to be for someone else. I took it as a message of sorts, and decided to dive to the bottom of it.
"Why not me?"
The odds are good that each of us will face challenges in life, and more than one, I'm thinking. Instead of becoming obsessed with what is wrong with us that we might deserve misfortune... We might better served by directing our thinking toward what God is ultimately up to in the midst of it all.
St. Julian of Norwich once said:
If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.I love that last line: "...that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love."
There are countless reasons why we face hardship and struggle. There are so many variables that factor in to the things that happen to us in life. We can't possibly predict it all, nor can we find reliably find meaning in them.
But Julian highlights the one thing we can count on. We will rise and fall, but God's love is ever-faithful, ever-true. We are held in that love no matter what comes our way. We are kept in it.
This realization may not answer our "Why?" but it will most assuredly give us the strength and resolve to seek peace no matter what answer comes.
May this be true for you today and every day forward. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.