Why Me Lord?

Why Me Lord?

young man with a bad attitude

You know the old saying “God works in mysterious ways.” Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t make my confusion over why things happen in my life any better! In fact, I have to confess to you that most of the short and cute little theological phrases (“Just trust the Lord” or “It’s all for the best” or “It was God’s will”) we use to “comfort” others during hard times are simply not helpful.

There goes some of my best one-liners to make me sound like I care and know what to do!

But seriously, why all the mystery about God’s will for my life? Why is it so difficult at times to “see” His purpose or His plan for me? It gets pretty frustrating at times, and there are too many stories to tell here of those who have lost their faith altogether when their life didn’t make sense.

Life can be frustrating, confusing, and scary, and the whole message that “this is all a test” doesn’t really help and usually hurts! Who wants to worship a god who just toys with you?

Thankfully, we don’t worship that kind of god! But we do confront a God Who knows the end from the beginning; Who sees every consequence to every potential decision I could make from the biggest choice to the smallest. The God we adore in the theology of the Orthodox Church is the God Who is beyond being because He is the Cause of being. He is beyond existing because He is the Cause of existence.

No wonder our Lord taught His disciples about the reason for parables and then followed it up with one of His most famous parables in today’s Gospel Lesson.

Look at Matthew 13:10-23,43. In this passage you’ll read the Parable of the Sower. The Sower tosses His seeds and they fall on different kinds of ground, but only one kind of ground, the good soil, does the seed take root and produce a harvest.

Before this parable, notice the Lord’s explanation to His disciples for why He teaches using parables (by the way, this is really important!): “This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13:13-17

God already knows all about you. There is no mystery to God about who you really are or even who you could become. God knows even the number of hairs on your head! God knows you! But, and here’s the real problem, YOU don’t know YOU! You don’t know what you’re capable of; you don’t know what you are meant to be; you don’t know your truest self.

And make no mistake, dearest, you NEED to know all of this about yourself! But you won’t know this about yourself simply by being told. No, we humans have proven this all too many times. How many times have you heard good advice and then promptly ignored it? We have to learn these truths about ourselves, not for God’s benefit, but for ours.

So our loving and gracious Lord places us in real lives where good things and bad things and everything in between things happen to us; where we have to make choices, decisions, and set priorities; all of which teach us about who we really are and reveal to us (not God. He already knows) the places in our soul most gripped by fear and the slavery to our passions. It is at moments of deepest love for God and others that this information about my own self proves to be the places and times where I grow best; where I mature, develop, and become who I really am. No wonder the Fathers teach us to say “Glory to God for all things!”

Today, are you willing to be tutored by your life about yourself? The whole of the Faith is meant to bring you to the place of spiritual maturity where you can learn who you really are so that God can restore His Image in you and make you into His Likeness. Your whole life is meant to bring you to that glorious place. Wanna go?

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Comments (2)

  • Reynolds Shook Reply

    Love this Post

    July 14, 2014 at 10:55 am
  • Virgil T. Morant Reply

    Although I haven’t visited in a while, Orthodox on Purpose (or Life Encouraged, as, I guess, it’s now called) has, along with countless others, remained in my reader. Not enough hours in the day, as they say, though. In any case, I hardly recognized the place when I just clicked over. Congratulations on the new design, Fr. Barnabas.

    The title of your post reminds me that in a verse near the passage of Isaiah that the Lord quotes in the day’s reading the prophet also asks a question: “Lord, how long?” Of course, he is asking about the desolation and intransigence of the people, but he might as well also be asking how long has any of us to wait for the Lord to heal us. Other saints, including some in Scripture, have asked the very question. We’re remarkably resilient and intellectually resourceful creatures, able to endure a great deal in expectation of a good outcome and able to find ways to convince ourselves that it is all worth enduring, while even at the same time we cannot help but wonder how much longer we have to put up with it or even how much longer we will not hear whatever it is that perhaps we ought to be hearing.

    The Lord too is talking about intransigent people, the hardened folk who hear but never understand, see but do not perceive, when He quotes the prophet and talks about using parables, but I think there is something there also for those who are not outright defiant to the Gospel. Even the man who sows the good seed on his good ground (in the next parable, which is not in the day’s reading) will find it invaded by the bad seed of the enemy. The good teaching on a ground of understanding will bear good fruit, but even that has to endure and often get mixed up in adversity, bad persons, and false teaching. It is fitting that these are agricultural parables, since the profits of sowing one’s fields take a considerable amount of time and labor. “Lord, how long?” The harvest is, as the Lord says in a later verse, at the end of the age.

    I think too we can reasonably say of Who hath ears, let him hear that even those of us who are not hardened against the Gospel and who have received on some good ground the good teaching will find at times that our ears are not ready to hear certain things that we long for. The Lord has a way of letting even those who will eventually find a good outcome languish in insensitivity that is not altogether willful. Try, for instance, to counsel a soul who is mired in despair or overcome with grave misfortune. Indeed you probably have done so many times. Sometimes even the most eloquent of words full of the sagest of insight are not enough. At least not yet. The economical aphorisms such as “It’s all for the best” and “It was God’s will” are easy to dismiss, and rightly so, but even richer words and deeper insights can be just as useless or even unintendedly callous. Lord, how long.

    July 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

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