Bad timing not only leads us to ask “Why now?” but it stirs up the first question as well. If our trials merely occur at an inconvenient moment in our lives, we might more easily endure. But when we experience one jab after another we begin to wonder if God has singled us out, which leads us back to the “Why me?” inquiry. With the widow we shout, “What do you have against me?” We can’t imagine what we have done to be punished so. (yesterday’s entry)
I don’t mean to suggest we arrive at this woeful state overnight. In fact, our first inclination as humans is usually to pursue logical explanations for the overabundance of trials in our lives. Admittedly, it is often easier to make sense of the suffering of others. If a friend fails to manage an addiction and as a result loses his marriage, children, career and financial security, we can easily connect the dots. But while our friend might grieve over his personal choices, he can also feel abandoned and mistreated by the people who love him. This doesn’t mean he is justified in his assessment. It merely demonstrates how difficult it is to think rationally when we are in pain.
Ironically, in an effort to logically sequence our trials, we can calculate ourselves right into a spiritual corner. I have seen stress charts that assign numerical values to various events, such as the loss of a family member, major illness or new career. These tools can help us come to terms with our feelings and behaviors, but inevitably they lead to the summary point: “This isn’t fair!”
Logic sustains for a moment because it provides a mechanism by which we maintain order in our lives. Yet, if we conclude the timing of our circumstances is disproportionate, we must also decide if this is an issue of fairness in a world controlled by a powerful God, a characteristic of fate in a world without God, or something in-between.
Have you ever had a season in your life when you thought your trials were disproportionate to the norm? Did you struggle with issues of “fairness?”
Dear God, help me through the times that don’t seem fair. In Jesus’ name, Amen.