Why Me?

why mePsalm 8:4 “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? [ESV]

The exact same words. The exact opposite meaning.

The question…why me? can be asked in one of two ways. The two ways stand miles apart. In fact, you might say the two why me’s? are polar opposites. One mindset speaks of depletion; the other of fullness. One reflects self-pity; the other self-effacement. The darkness of despair shrouds one; the light of gratitude beams through the other. I’ve known both….

The first why me? is the woe-is-me kind. We ask it when we feel we’re the brunt of some injustice. Who can’t relate to feelings of being treated unfairly? We cry out to God, probing him for answers. Why have I been singled out?  Why did I lose my job? Why can’t I get pregnant? This why me? pits us against the world, against God. The anguish of this kind of why me? leads us on a path toward bitterness if left unchecked.

But the second why me? It’s the whoa-why-me? kind. We ask this when we become aware of God’s unmerited blessings toward us. Why should I be the recipient of another’s generosity? Why should I know what it’s like to be loved? And to love? Why should I get to work in a job I relish? Why should I have any comforts in life at all? I could fill a page…. In fact, the more why me’s I think of, the more my cup overflows. This kind of why me? leads us on a path toward unmitigated joy.

We are human. Each of us experience both kinds of why. I believe the more we saturate ourselves in the second kind, the more equipped we’ll be to withstand the first. Someone close to me was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. If she experienced the first why me? she certainly didn’t wallow in it. She had already matured in the ways of gratitude so when the test came, she was prepared. As the Holy Spirit reminded her of all the good things in her life, she drank it in…becoming more aware of God’s care for her, not less.

How about you? Are you letting the shadows of woe be replaced with the radiance of whoa? I hope so, but if not, why not begin now?

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