Living in Florida, I recently engaged in a stressful dance with Hurricane Dorian.
For those who haven’t been following the vagaries of tropical weather, Dorian crossed the Atlantic as a tropical storm that grew into a Category 5 hurricane. With a peak wind speed of 183 mph, Dorian is one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record.
Those of us in Florida watched with trepidation as Dorian appeared to target our state’s east coast. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. And many of us prayed.
We prayed for Dorian to turn north before it made landfall in Florida. Not here, Lord!
Then we watched this monster storm engulf the Bahamas. It devastated the islands with punishing and merciless winds before continuing its deliberate journey toward us.
And we prayed some more. Lord, help those in the Bahamas. But please don’t let that happen to us. Not here, Lord. Not me, Lord.
Even as I prayed this, I found myself wondering, Why not me?
Have you ever asked, “Why me?” Or perhaps, “Why not me?”
- Why am I the one who received that prognosis?
- How come I didn’t get the last seat in that class I wanted to attend?
- Why didn’t I get the job?
- How come the hurricane hit my city?
- Why did someone else get what I should have received?
Where do we get the idea that bad things shouldn’t happen to us? Of course, no one wants to experience sorrow or suffering. But when these situations occur, we often seem to think God has somehow let us down. That He violated an unwritten agreement: I’ll believe in You and You will protect me from anything bad.
But the Bible never promised a life without sorrow and suffering. Actually, just the opposite. Jesus told His followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).
Living in a broken, sin-sick world means we are guaranteed to have trouble. It’s not an if, it’s a when. And our heavenly Father doesn’t always stop the trouble from happening. But He does promise peace in the midst of difficulty.
Besides, how will the world understand the reality of the peace brought by the Prince of Peace if nothing negative ever happens to Christians?
So the next time we’re facing a difficult circumstance, let’s not ask “Why me?” Instead, ask “Why not me?” Then ask, “How can I live for Christ in this situation so that others will want the relationship with Him that I have?”
I still intend to pray hurricanes will steer away from me–and from others! And not just physical hurricanes, but all storms of life. Still, if—no, when—they do come, I also pray I’ll exhibit the peace and strength that comes from knowing who I am in Christ. That I will surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to live out the reality of my identity as a child of God regardless of my situation. And that the way I live might be the salt which makes others thirsty for that same relationship.
Why not me?
Thought of you as I saw Jim Cantore on TV in your area. Yes – good evaluation of God’s peace. Hey, if we as Christians never had to face anything bad or evil, how could we ever explain God’s peace? If life was perfect because of our prayers, then we wouldn’t need God’s peace. Still…we pray, we hope.
Yes, we pray and hope, and rest in His peace regardless of the outcome!
Well said, as always. I especially love the question: “How can I live for Christ in this situation so that others will want the relationship with Him that I have?” I’m writing that in my prayer book.
Thank you, Joyce.
I shared your blog with a friend in Tampa and received this back from her: “I shared Ava’s meditation with my women’s Bible study group tonight. Many of them are from the islands & have family there. They loved it. We are working to find a church over there to partner with to minister congregation to congregation.”
Wow – thank you for that encouragement, Joyce!
What a powerful post, Ava! As a South Carolina resident, I also experienced that up-down-up-down roller coaster with the hurricane as to will it or won’t it devastate us. My heart grieves with the people of the Bahamas and those in North Carolina, too. What an awful storm.
What a storm! Such devastation. Indeed though, why not me? I am grateful for the assurances of His presence and His joy. I often think that if we never had to be comforted we would not be able to comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Good post, Ava.
So true! Welcome back, Ava; I’ve missed your voice. There’s a lot of wisdom in this post. Pain is inevitable; love your attitude.
Thank you, Beth and Candace.
Amen. We experienced Cat 3 winds and rain from hurricane Dorian. No fun at all. But, through the storm, we were blessed with neighbors checking on each other and businesses opening with employees who volunteered to work. Glad the storm is gone from here but definitely praying for all affected.
Thankful you’re okay, Melissa!
Thankful you are okay, Ava. We still continue to pray for those in the Bahamas. So true, it’s not a matter of “if” we have trouble, it’s “when.” But the same is true of our God’s peace and comfort and seeing us through. It’s never a matter of “if” He will be with us through it all, but “when.”
So true, Karen!
Growing up in Florida,I completely understand the preparation in prayer for hurricanes. They can be devastating. I love when you said, “So the next time we’re facing a difficult circumstance, let’s not ask “Why me?” Instead, ask “Why not me?” Then ask, “How can I live for Christ in this situation so that others will want the relationship with Him that I have?” What a powerful and needful question for each of us as we face the circumstances and challenges of our lives. Blessings!
Thank you, Lisa!
So beautiful Ava. Why not me! Reminds me of Isaiah’s lips being touched by the coals off God’s altar and responding …send me. To be the light in the darkness. The hope to the hopeless. And like you summarise salt to a world that so desperately longs for something but cannot find it! We need Christ.
Thank you, Ava James!
Funny how, in our natures, we somehow believe we ought to be exempt from the troubles of the world. God bless you and the folks in the Bahamas. God bless America, please.