When people encounter an especially difficult and unexpected trial—loss of a job, a relationship, of good health—the “why” question will surface. But it is important to note there are two “why” questions. The first is “Why me, Lord?” This “why” is born out of self-preservation and self-pity. The second is just “Why Lord?” This one is born out of the faithful heart of a truth-seeker, submitted to God, even, and perhaps especially, when things don't make sense.
When I found out I had pancreatic cancer, I did ask the second ‘why’ question. Fifty-five years of walking with the Lord has taught me who is in charge, if nothing else! And, if I really believe “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) and that “I am NOT my own, but have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20), there can be no “Why me?” God’s calling on my life gives Him full privilege to do with me as He chooses. Am I actually saying that God chose me for this affliction? Yes.
As a child, my very advanced brain was out of sync with my physical development; in other words, I was uncoordinated! Thus, I experienced the rejection and humiliation of one always chosen last (or not at all!) when sides were drawn for the baseball, football, basketball teams. But now, many years later, I feel like I have been chosen to be on God’s ‘major league’ team! Perhaps I am sensing a little of what Paul must have felt when he said, “I exult in my afflictions,” rejoicing that God saw fit to advance the kingdom through his suffering. I may not have an absolute answer to my “Why Lord,” but I am confident it is part of God’s ultimate design to make me a “vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).