Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Me?

This past Sunday a young man approached me after one of our services to ask for prayer.  But, more than prayer, this young man was really hoping to get an answer to a question.  Its a question I am very familiar with.  It is a question I have often asked myself.  The question is: "Why me?"

This particular young man was not going through some personal crisis and wondering how God could have allowed that to happen.  His girlfriend did not recently leave him and he hadn't been arrested for anything.  He was neither homeless nor jobless.  He had no terminal illness -- no drug dependency.

Quite to the contrary, this particular young man had just recently gone through (and indeed is continuing to go through) incredible life changes for the good.  God has captured his attention.  More importantly, God has captured his heart!  And, from what I understand, his life has completely turned around.  In fact, just a couple of months ago he was baptized, and he is extremely excited about his new-found faith.

So, you might ask, what's the problem?  Or, why the "why me?"?

Well, the problem is this.  Although this young man has only recently accepted Christ himself, he can already feel the call on his life to witness to others -- and particularly to a family member who he knows is at a crossroad.  And, as he looks around a church filled with people who have been on the Christian walk for years, who know the Bible inside and out, and who have experience in leading others to Christ, in mentoring and in discipling, his question is "why me?"  In fact, after he asked the question he protested "I'm just a baby!"

When this young man began to explain his problem to me I know that a big smile appeared on my face.  Honestly, it was all I could do to keep from laughing.  Not out of disrespect mind you -- it just tickled me.  I have read this kind of story so many times in the Bible.  I have seen it play out so many times in the life of the Church.  And, I've lived it myself!!

So, I just explained to this young man that as he studied the Bible more he would begin to see that God has this thing about using the people who you would least expect to do the most amazing things.  And, I explained to him that, like it or not, he was exactly the right person to pour into the life of this particular family member.

One of the reasons God likes to use the unqualified and the misfits is because when good things happen there is no confusion about who should get the credit.  We give all of the glory to God in those situations in part because we have no other viable explanation for what happened.  Let me give you a recent example in my life.

Every Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. I meet with between fifteen and thirty men from HC and from other churches for a "Bible study."  The group includes a number of Elders and Deacons from our church, as well as men who are relatively new to the Christian faith.

My role on Saturday is extremely limited.  I rarely lead the study (my good friend David does such a great job teaching!), and about all I really have to do is show up.

Anyway, we have seen God do some incredible things on Saturday mornings.  Most of the men in our group are truly fired up, and sense that God is doing something really special in that room.  I have seen fresh fires burn in men who have served for years.  I have seen God bring other men to new and unexpected places in their Christian walk.  I have seen marriages and other family relationships healed.  I have watched as one of my good friends has emerged from the ashes of divorce and begun his return to a calling in ministry.

I mention this because our group started with me asking a familiar question: "why me?"  Seriously.  I had no interest in starting or even being involved in a mens' ministry.  I certainly had no passion for it.  Worse yet, no one asked me to do it.  In fact, no one had even raised the possibility of starting (or restarting) a mens' ministry at HC.

I remember vividly the day I told our executive staff what I was thinking about doing.  At the very minute the words were coming out of my mouth I was thinking "what am I doing?"  I had plenty of things to do at the church and no time to start something new.  More importantly, Saturday was my only day off!!  And, I remember asking God "why me?"

The fact is that there is no way I could have planned or orchestrated what has happened in that room on Saturday mornings.  I don't even really know why I asked David to lead the teaching.

I used to ask "why me?" all the time.  I don't so much anymore.  Its not that I am any more confident or qualified or even comfortable in my calling than I was before.  Its more that I have learned that when I think I hear God's voice and I am tempted to ask "why me?" the answer most likely is that I am exactly the right person for the job!  God is funny like that.

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