It was only many years after the event that I asked, “Why me?” I was seven, sitting in Sunday School next to Barbara. There was a guest speaker- a missionary who ran childrens’ missions in school holidays. They were great fun, games, singing, eating and interesting Bible stories. That Sunday the missionary asked us if we loved Jesus, and wanted to follow him and become a Christian, to stay behind and pray with our Sunday School teacher. “Come, Barbara" I said, “Let’s go.” “No!” she replied,” I won’t”. And she never came back to Sunday School. We are not robots. God has given us free wills.
So often, when sadness, trouble, old age or pandemic depression hits us when life was smoothly gliding along, we ask, Why me? If we are Christians, the answer will come in God’s good time.
It’s interesting to see how prominent people in the Bible responded to difficult situations.
Abraham was about to sacrifice his precious son at God’s request. He could have asked “Why me?” But he didn’t. He trusted God and it was “credited to him for righteousness”, and his son was spared. But what a test!
Joseph, thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery, never deviated from his faith in God through grave situations, adversity and imprisonment, until he rose to become second only to the Pharoah of Egypt, saving his family and Jews from starvation.
Then there was Moses, who in reply to God’s request that he return to Egypt and lead his people from bondage, questioned God and said “I am not an eloquent man, I am slow of tongue -whom am I that I should go to Pharoah?” So he asked, “Why me? As a result God sent Moses’ brother, Aaron, to be his spokesperson. Then Moses obeyed God and brought the Jews out of Egypt and was with them in the desert for 40 years.
Queen Esther, as a young Jewish girl, concealed her nationality and family on the instruction of her uncle Mordecai when she was taken by King Xerxes’ servants to the palace. They were searching for all the most beautiful girls in the land to take the place of Queen Vashti whom the king had banished. When as Queen, Esther heard that Mordecai was sitting at the gate in sackcloth and ashes, she sent a servant to enquire why he was there. Mordecai replied that the Jews were to be exterminated. He sent her this message: “Do not think that because you are in the King’s house, you alone of all the Jews will escape. Who knows but you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Queen Esther replied, “I will go to the King and if I perish, I perish.” Her bravery saved the Jews.
Ruth, did not ask “Why me” but left her people and went back with her mother-in-law from the pagan land in which they lived to the land of the Jews.. Both were widows. She said to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God”. Ruth had to follow the reapers in Boaz’s fields to glean what they left in order to survive. It was a story book romance and she married Boaz, becoming the great-grandmother of King David.
The worldview of Christians is diametrically opposed to that of non-believers. This world is not our home. Our view is eternal. We live in hope. The world’s view is temporal - eat, drink and be merry and, just in case, do some good.
From an early age Jesus Christ knew the answer to Why me? As God’s Son he had been sent to lead a life of great suffering, where even his closest companions did not understand his mission until after his death on the cross for the sins of the world -and the agonizing hours when his Father forsook him for our sakes, for yours, for mine, for Barbara’s - if we will accept him.