The last 18 months have been a season of more struggles than my wife and I have seen in our previous 21 years of marriage. Not struggles in our marriage, mind you, but things like the death of a close family member, failing marriages in the family, family “issues” that seem to creep up on a regular basis and then of course, our son’s accident in December. We have never experienced so much pain, sadness and frustration as we have in the last 18 months.
Now, I do not write that because I want anyone’s pity. I don’t. In fact, for the last 20+ years of my life we have been fairly sheltered from having to deal with these types of things. So, starting with getting the word that we were being laid off, we have experienced things that I never thought we would have to go through. I have never struggled to have a job. Since we were married, we have never had to live with anyone else. We have not had a lot of death or divorce to deal with in our families and we certainly have never had a child almost die in a car accident.
There have undoubtedly been moments that I have asked God “Why?” “Why do I have to go through all of this? Why can’t I find a church to pastor, why can’t I do this or that? Why is my son having to go through all of this pain?” Those are all questions that I wanted answers to. Those are questions that we all would want answers to. I believe God knows that we want those answers. I was sitting in the hospital room watching Josiah sleep one night, just thinking and being quiet before God when I got an answer.
“Why not you, Jason?” And that was it. No other answers. Nothing more specific. Just, “Why not you?”
I thought about that for several days. I never expected to be immune for bad things in life. I never held to the thinking that if I was a good and performed for God that I would somehow have a magical life. But, I also never expected these things to “happen to me.”
We have learned much over the last several months. Though many of the situations we have faced are not pleasant, we have been able to walk through them, day by day, knowing that God was in control; knowing that He has a purpose and a plan for everything. I may not know all of the “why” surrounding these struggles but I do know that through everything that God says “why not you, Jason?” that He will use it to make His name famous. He will use my struggle to allow me to be more compassionate, more loving and to be able to help others because of what we have faced. I am thankful for that.
Just this morning, I read Romans 8:35:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
No matter what we face, we are not separated from the love of God. In fact, our struggles make God’s love more real and evident. Verse 37 goes on to say:
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
I am a conqueror because of the love of God. His plans and purposes advance when I ask “why not me” and I lean in to Him, and then reach out to others.