“One of my neighbors has been going through some really tough times lately,” Stan commented on morning.”
“Sorry to hear that,” I replied. “It’s often hard to understand why that happens.”
“It is,” Stan said. “Often the difficulties that come into my life are the result of bad choices on my part, but there are times when I think it’s more about God’s choices than it is about mine.”
“God might choose to put you through some tough times? Why?”
“Well,” Stan replied, “in the first instance, I believe that God may test me by bringing trials into my life so that I will grow in my reliance on Him.”
“Kind of like where Jesus says to come to Him when I’m weary and heavy-laden so I can be refreshed?” I asked.
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “I think trials can be a clear way to open me to want to draw closer to God for His provision.”
“As well,” he added, “I think that God may take me through some tough times so I will choose to draw closer to Him to be comforted so that I can be used by Him to comfort others.”
“Kind of like passing along to others the comfort you receive?” I asked.
“Exactly,” Stan said. “If I don’t ever have any reason to choose God’s comfort, and if I don’t receive the comfort God has for me, there’s little chance that I will be in a position to pass along comfort to someone else who needs it.”
“So,” I responded, “if I look at tough times from God’s standpoint rather than from my own self-focus, I may well see something different. Is that the point?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Rather than asking, ‘Why me?’ it might be a good idea to thank God for choosing me so that I can help others who need the comfort He has for them through me.”
Bible verses to consider:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. Matthew 11:28-30.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the comfort you have provided in knowing that I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for the comfort of being allowed to know you ever more deeply in an ever-closer personal relationship before then. With affliction that comes into my life, I admit that too often it is the result of my bad choices and I don’t bother to see that you may bring affliction for your purposes to help me draw closer to you and seek your comfort. Rather than ask, “Why me?” please help me to ask “Why?” and to be open to see how you want to comfort me and use me to comfort others in accordance with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: With affliction that comes into your life, do you tend to blame God rather than seek to know why He may have allowed the affliction to come? If so, what’s that all about? Do you agree that affliction in your life can be used for God’s purposes in the lives of others? Why or why not? If such affliction can be used to help others, what would that look like in your life? When Jesus was going to the cross, did He ask, “Why Me?” What does it mean to you to answer that question?