Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from my little sister. She was barely able to keep form crying as she told me that she and daddy were taking my mom to the hospital because she was having chest pains, she was feeling clammy, and half of her face was numb. She promised that she would keep me updated and I quickly made arrangements to leave work and meet up with my husband so that we could drive two hours to be with both of my sisters, my dad, and my mom.
As the shock began to wear off, the reality began to sink in that very soon my mom could be gone. After all, my mom’s family has a strong history of heart disease. There were so many different things running through my head and so many emotions coursing through my body that I could barely decipher one from the next. Looking back on it I am surprised that one particular question never crossed my mind when it so easily could have. I never once asked, “Why me, God?”
Now before I go blowing my own horn or you begin thinking I come across a little too saintly to believe, let me tell you that in other life situations that was the very first question on my mind. When Jimmy and I experienced our miscarriage I not only asked God “Why?”; I also hated Him for the pain and loss the miscarriage caused. I believe all men and women either have already had or will have at least one experience in their lives that will make them wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people and good things to bad people. So let’s look at a couple of reasons why God allows us to experience heartaches and struggles.
Why God Let’s Us Experience Heartaches and Struggles
God gave us Freewill
As men and women we are able to make our own decisions because God gave us freewill. However, some of the struggles that life brings us are a consequence of the freewill choices that we have made. We should constantly be struggling to follow God’s will for our lives. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We are also tempted because we are allowed to make up our own minds about what we will do, when we will do it, and how we will do it. God is just and He will discipline those who willing chooses to go outside of His will. Still He uses these unpleasant times for our benefit. This is clearly explained in Hebrews 11:12, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Struggles and Heartaches allow us to Grow
God uses the hardest times in our lives to make the greatest change in who we are and how we live our lives. In Romans 5:3-5 He clearly explains, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” If life was never hard would we really learn lessons like trust, faith, hope, and love? You don’t know who you truly are or what you truly believe in until you have been tested.
Our Experiences Allow Us to Help Others
Empathy. It is a strong but often over looked word and an even stronger feeling. I don’t think that I fully understood empathy for the longest time. As I mentioned before, Jimmy and I went through a miscarriage in our first year of marriage. It was during this time that I first began to understand what empathy truly meant. I had this one girlfriend, who also happened to be a youth ministers wife, who went out of her way to love me and listen to me and comfort me because she had been through two miscarriages herself and knew exactly what feelings I was up against. In fact, I am pretty sure there were times that she knew what I was feeling even when I didn’t. It was such a blessing to be able to call Lindsey because I knew she had been in my shoes. About a year later, I received a call from one of my other minister girlfriends and she told me she had had a miscarriage. I realized at that moment that the blessing of my struggle was that I would be able to help Kristin through hers. This time I was the one who knew what she was feeling. I could listen to her and truly understand what she was going through. I knew the things that would make her burst into tears at a moments notice. I was able to be her Lindsey. If I had never known that pain I could never have known the joy of helping her overcome.
So instead of asking, “Why me God?”, maybe we should spend some time taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it where it belongs—on God. Maybe we could even try to practice the verse that says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).