• “Why Me, Lord?”


    “Why me, Lord?” tends to be a rhetorical question.  Or maybe it’s no real question at all, just a lament, like “how are you” is just a form of greeting.

    But when “Why me, Lord?” becomes a real question, it often carries an edge to it.  It’s spoken with an attitude.  It comes with the unspoken qualifier, “I don’t deserve this!”

    With that qualifier, “Why me, Lord?” is impregnated with pride.  It shakes its fist at God.  That fist can be raised high in outright rebellion, such as in Psalm 139:20, or it can be more subdued, like fingers crossed behind the back.  The subdued version conveys a degree of protest often fostered by doubt or confusion or resistance in the real-life struggles of faith.

    Whatever degree it takes, that pride pits itself against God.  It is incredulous that God would allow to happen what has happened.

    David, a man after God’s own heart, expresses “Why me, Lord?” from a different vantage point, one consistent with the tone of Psalm 139.  God had just told him through the prophet Nathan that God would establish David’s kingdom as an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam. 7:1-17).  His son would sit on his throne forever.

    David responds with a “Why me, Lord?”

    Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 2 Samuel 7:18-22

    David’s question is rhetorical in a way, but it’s also very real. The subtext of his question is, “Lord, why would you treat me, a sinner and such a flawed instrument, in such a manner? Who am I that you would use me?”

    David’s question flows not from pride but from profound humility.  It’s almost an objection.  Unlike the “Why me, Lord?” that proceeds from pride, his is a protest of humility.

    The question can be carried to the New Testament, to Romans 9 where we find God’s purpose in election.  Paul’s argument could not be more in our face.

    For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:15-16 

    Salvation, from start to finish, finds its origin and its outcome in the sovereign choice of God.

    All who understand the depth of their sin and extent of their rebellion against God find themselves shocked not by “Esau have I hated” of Romans 9:13 but by “Jacob have I loved.”  It knows enough to say, “Who am I, O Lord, that You would set your love upon me and send Your Son to save me?”

    A Reformed understanding of election precludes any inkling of pride.  It empties us of self.  It is rich with grace. The protagonist of the story is God alone, and to Him belongs all the glory.  It leaves us shaking our head, muttering in our heart, “Why me, Lord?”

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