People Who Say Such Things: Don’t Ask Why Me, But Why This?

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February 12, 2020

Genesis 25:19-24 (NIV)

19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.

CONSIDER THIS

Observe the almost never ending struggle in the life of a people pursuing the will of God. God promises more descendants than stars in the sky to childless Abraham and Sarah and waits until they are 100 years old to deliver their first son, Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah face infertility and childlessness for twenty years and finally she becomes pregnant and the struggle shifts to her womb. Remember, this is pre-ultrasound history. She didn’t know she carried twins at the time—just that world war whatever was taking place in her belly. 

22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

People who say such things teach us another valuable lesson about the struggle of the life of faith. Here’s her question: “Why is this happening to me?” Note she’s not asking, “Why me?” That is the helpless question of a hapless bystander at best and a victim at worst. She is she asking, “Why this?” Rebekah, who tried for twenty years to have a child, accepts that life is struggle and difficulty. She’s pressing in for the deeper question. 

“Why is this happening to me?”

Now look at the next line:

So she went to inquire of the Lord.

She wants to know what the Lord is up to here. What might he be saying. How might he interpret this unusual struggle in her womb in the framework of his will? Is she worried she may lose the pregnancy? Maybe. Is she feeling anxious? Probably. She doesn’t know there is a mixed martial arts cage fight happening in her belly. She’s never been pregnant before. She senses something is not right. Her response reveals how God’s people deal with such anxious moments:

“Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

People who say such things know the cosmic and eternal purposes of God get worked out in the chaotic every day struggles of life. I do not mean to imply that there is some divine reason for everything difficult or even awful thing that happens in life. I don’t subscribe to, “there is a reason for everything” theology. I do, however, believe God speaks in specific ways and reveals particular things in the midst of our challenges, difficulties, and even tragedies. In other words, while everything that happens is not God’s will, God has a will in everything that happens. It’s why we want to learn this way of inquiring of the Lord in the happenings of our lives. It’s why we say such things as this:

“Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

God doesn’t always respond so clearly, but he did here:

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

While He didn’t exactly say, “Twins!” He did offer a bit of a roadmap for the way ahead. Admittedly, this is all a bit extraordinary and even exceptional and yet something of the nature of the whole thing needs to norm itself in our every day lives. God is always saying things and doing things. He wants our participation in those things, which are indeed unfolding in the world around every single one of us. He wants us to pay attention to our every day lives while discerning the work of the Word and the Spirit in the midst of them. 

“Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

People who say such things come to understand the focus is not on WHY or ME. The point is THIS. What might you be saying and doing in THIS Lord? 

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I don’t want to be anxious about anything, but in everything I want to come before you with my inquiry, seeking out your Word and Spirit, your will and your ways. I know my life is not more important than anyone else’s and yet I know my life matters as much as anyone else’s to you. I want to live that way in my life and through my relationships. Teach my spirit to abide in your Spirit. I renounce all victimhood in my life. Train my instincts not to ask why me but why this. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Do you believe God wills and wants to speak into the specific situations and circumstances of your life? Are you learning to inquire of the Lord? Are you growing in your openness to the bigger story within which your own story unfolds and commingles?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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