by Mary Turbet
Why Me - The need to accept God's plans
(Editorial note - see the comment in the editorial of this issue)
Matt 22:14 says, "Many are called but few are chosen." Sometimes I wonder if this is a good translation - perhaps it should be, "all are chosen but few choose to accept ". So many of us feel inadequate for the tasks that we are asked to perform and deep inside us we ask "Why Me".
Moses was a real "Why Me" person. In Exodus chapter 3 God calls Moses because of the misery of His people in Egypt and tells Moses that He wants him to go to Pharaoh to bring His people out of Egypt. And Moses replies, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt."
Well, why would God choose Moses?
Brought up by Pharaoh's daughter;
He had killed an Egyptian
Fled from the Hebrews.
None of this seems much of a C.V. to help the Israelites.
God says "don't worry, Moses, I will be with you." But Moses is not a bit happy with the situation and continues, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you", and they ask me. 'What is His name?' Then what shall I tell them?" and God said to Moses. "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. 'I AM has sent me to you'" and God continues with more instructions.
Moses is still not a happy little Vegemite and he again asks, "What if they don't believe me or listen to me and say, 'The Lord did not appear to you.'" Then the Lord said to him "What is in your hand" and he replied, 'A staff', and the Lord said. 'Throw it on the ground.'" And as you know Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake. The Lord showed Moses other miraculous things but still he was very unhappy and he said, "0 Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and the Lord said to him, 'Who gave man his mouth?'" Etc. "Now go. I will help you to speak and teach you what to say." But Moses said, 'O Lord, please. send someone else to do it.'" And then the Lord grew angry with him but he said He would send Aaron with him. None of this shows Moses to be a very willing servant.
Now lets think about Saul. The Lord told Samuel that this was "the Man I spoke to you about. He will govern my people." Saul says, "Why me? Am I not Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin. Why do you say such a thing to me." But Saul stopped and listened to what Samuel had to say to him and Samuel anointed him as king.
Jonah is a really good example of "Why Me?" Instead of going to Ninevah, he went as far west as possible to Tarshish on the Spanish coast and we all know the story of Jonah and the whale.
Jonah showed lots of good attributes. He admitted to the sailors that he was the one God was angry with and suggested they throw him overboard. "It is my fault," he said. Eventually he was thrown into the sea and when the sea became calm, the sailors feared the Lord and made vows to Him. In all of this you can see that Jonah while running away from the Lord, at no stage lost his faith in his Lord. You could say he had become a sort of missionary to the sailors. He just did not want to do what the Lord asked him to do.
God gave Jonah a second chance and Jonah this time obeyed him. We are a funny lot. As soon as the people of Ninevah repented and Jonah had accomplished his mission he was unhappy because God did not carry out His threat to destroy them. Instead of being delighted Jonah somehow felt belittled.
I could not find out where Jonah lived, but in my efforts I discovered in the World Book Encyclopedia the statement, "This book is the greatest missionary challenge ever written to the Hebrews" which I though was quite interesting.
There are other ways of looking at "Why Me?"
Philip Yancy tells the story of Christian Reger who was in Dachau as a prisoner for four years. How easily could he have said "Why Me?" Since then he, and others, have worked hard to restore the concentration camp as a lasting monument and a lesson to all humanity. "Never again" is their slogan. Reger says, "Neitzsche said, 'A man can undergo torture if he knows the Way of his life.' Here at Dachau, I learned something far greater. I learned to know the WHO of my life. He was enough to sustain me then and is enough to sustain me still.'"
During those four years, Reger went through dreadful suffering and witnessed unspeakable atrocities but at one stage he received a letter from his wife. Of course it had been cut into small pieces by the censor but he was able to piece it together and in it was a Bible reference Acts 4:26-29. That afternoon he had to undergo an interrogation. As a fellow minister came out he slipped something in to Reger's pocket . After his cross-examination, which turned out to be much easier than he expected, he remembered the paper and when he opened it, he found the same scripture reference neatly printed there. He felt this was a message from God and he was "transformed from the moment." Verse 29 of that reference says, "Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness."
Yancy also tells the story of a girl called Joni Eareckson, who dived into shallow water and became paralysed. How easily could she have said "Why Me?" She had been a very athletic girl, loving swimming, riding, dancing, tennis, you name it, and now she only had movement in her shoulders and head. Most of you have probably heard her story which is a most inspiring one. She now speaks at conferences all around the world and appears on national television programs, records a daily radio broadcast. She has written numerous books and many recordings have been made of her singing. She is an artist and paints with her mouth. As you can see she is living a very full life.
She says, at the beginning "I was so bitter and cynical. But over the years my outlook has changed. I awake every day grateful for what God has given me. Somehow - and it took me three years even to believe it might be possible - God has proven to me that I, too, can have a fullness of life."
Joni initially looked to the book of Job for answers. She could not find the answers to the WHY of the tragedies anywhere in that book. She says, "What I found was that Job clung to God regardless and God rewarded him. "Is that what God wants" she wondered. "My focus changed from demanding to humbly depending on Him. Okay I'm paralysed. It's terrible. I don't like it, but can God still use me - paralysed? He began to teach me that He could."
When I start to prepare my little talks, I ask myself, "Why am I doing this?" Like Moses, I have never been eloquent and am slow of speech and tongue and I ask "WHY ME?" If there is anything in what I have said which touches a chord with anyone, please remember that it is not my doing but God working in me.
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