Ever wonder why you are in your current situation, whatever it is? May be good…may be bad. Hard or difficult. Ever ask, “Why me?” as you think about your lot in life? I think it’s a common question we ask when things go wrong. “Why me, Lord? What did I do to deserve this?” Sometimes answers for that question are hard to come by. Simple answer, I guess, is “Why not?” I mean, what’s so special about any of us that should disqualify us from bad times? Jesus said He makes the sun to shine on and rain to fall on the evil and the good. (Matthew 5:45)
Funny, though, we rarely ask the same question when things go well, as though we certainly deserve THAT. Yet, in the same way that bad things happen to all sorts of people, so do the good things….it’s just unmerited favor. There is nothing that we do to deserve those things.
My question goes deeper: What are we going to DO with them…the circumstances, that is? Sometimes you ask someone how they are doing and they respond, “Well, under the circumstances, I’m doing pretty well.” I once heard someone retort, “What are you doing under the circumstances?” The point is that, for those that are in Christ – those who have committed their way to and are Christ-followers – there is no need to be under circumstances; there is no reason at all why circumstances, either good or bad, should dictate our lives. Scripture says that we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) and earlier in the same chapter that, “…all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
As Shakespeare put it, “Ah, there’s the rub!” That last part, “…who are called according to His purpose” is key. If we are called according to His purpose,” then Christ is Master of our circumstances, so that no matter what happens, it will work out for His glory…which is the good. That doesn’t mean everything always works out the way we want or to the end to which we would say, “Man, that’s awesome,” yet it will work out to that which is THE good.
Case in point. This morning, I read the following from a Christian newswire:
ASSIST News Service reports that Juria Bardhan, Gospel for Asia’s state leader in Orissa, India, has seen dozens of churches burned to the ground in the last two weeks. He has seen missionaries and Christians beaten and killed. But during all these horrific attacks, Juria has had one thought. “We know the Lord is in control,” Juria said in an interview Thursday. Juria’s comments may sound naïve to Western ears, but to Christians in volatile parts of Asia, they ring true. They expect persecution rather than peace. They know that to follow Christ means choosing to bring more trouble into their lives. They also know that Christians standing strong in the face of such trials encourages others to follow Christ. “The encouraging thing is that the attackers themselves acknowledge that Orissa used to be only 2 percent Christian, and now it’s 28 percent Christian,” Juria said. “They don’t understand that by doing this, the church will grow by leaps and bounds, and this will cause thousands to come to Christ.”
Now, everything is not working out for what people would generally consider “good” for those who are being persecuted, yet when you look at the result, the Gospel is spreading and God is getting glory. Those very Christians facing the persecution are calling that “Good”!
There is a lady in the Bible that I always think of when I’m reflecting on this topic. It’s Esther. This was a simple Jewish girl taken in by the king of Persian to be his wife. It didn’t make much sense unless you simply write it off to the king liking the looks of a beautiful young lady. If you know the story, you remember that there was a plot to kill all of the Jews by a rat named Haman. As the story unfolds, there seems to be only one person who was in a position to do anything about it. Yep, our girl, Esther.
I wonder if she ever sat alone and night and, thought, “Why me, Lord? What is a simple Jewish girl like me doing as the Queen of Persia?” She probably did. We know she did when everything started going bad as the plot was discovered and she was asked to approach the King on behalf of her people (which the king, at this time, didn’t know they were her people). She didn’t want to do it, knowing that to approach the king without being summoned could result in death, even for the queen. I love her cousin, Mordecai’s, response to her. He said, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Man, what incredible words of wisdom spoken! I have such admiration for this guy because not only did he have complete confidence that God would deliver, he spoke incredible words of wisdom to his queen cousin, giving testimony to God sovereignty through circumstances!
The result? Queen Esther determined to bust up into the king’s court, declaring, “…if I perish, I perish.” She decided that she would not be ruled by her circumstances, but that God’s power would cause her to rule over her circumstances…and all the Jews were saved.
What are you doing with your circumstances? Are you saying, “Why me?” or “Why not?” Are you living under your circumstances or are you saying, “Lord, I don’t why you have allowed me to be in the place that I’m in, but I’m going to look for ways that I can bring glory to you, believing that you can use me to impact my world for Christ…and if I perish, I perish.”