Have you cried out those words? There are many in scripture who share your desperate plea, but there are some who are extraordinary examples through their own afflictions. Job experienced tremendous hardship. “Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:6–7). This shows us that the question should not be, “Why me?” but, “Why not me?” Am I so special I should be excluded from the affliction all of humanity endures? Do I have some elite status which disqualifies my life from any struggle?
Asking, “Why me?” reveals a flaw. We believe we are different than everyone else and therefore should be treated more favorably. Have you considered what Paul was willing to do for his brethren? “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren” (Romans 9:3)! This perfectly represents the instruction Christ gave the squabbling disciples in Mark 9. After they had been fighting, I mean “discussing,” who would be the greatest, he invites them over and sets a child in their midst. “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). This is coming from our Savior who, of all people, had the right to cry, “Why me?” Yet, he was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…Surely he hath borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3–4). He bore OUR griefs! They were not his, but he carried OUR sorrows.
When we push back against the sovereign actions of God in our life, we are the thing formed which asks, “Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20). We must be willing to shed the garments of privilege and the coat of self-respect. Do you think Joseph had second thoughts about his choice while he was in prison? It is doubtful. Far better to lose the world’s superficial accolades than sacrifice the riches of his glory “that he might make known…on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:23). Pharaoh’s arrogance of preferential treatment calcified his defiance until he was “a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22).
Scripture shows us that the truly resilient in the face of affliction are those who adopt the same perspective Christ had while he bore our griefs. Like Paul, they account their lives as simply a tool to bring the message of hope, so that “in every way…Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:18). Instead of asking, “Why me?” we should take counsel with God. “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number” (Job 5:8–9). Always remember, He has chosen to use you. One day we will shed this corruptible flesh and put on incorruption.