When You Have Fallen On Hard Times
Even though I walk through the valley…You are with me….
When Dr. Stanley Collins, a renowned Bible teacher and conference speaker, was felled with a heart attack, he looked up towards heaven, and though he did not actually say these words, his heart cried out, “Why me, Lord?” Collins, like King Hezekiah who lay dying long ago, reminded the Lord of what he had been doing for Him. Then, without hearing any voices or seeing any visions in the sky, Collins says it was almost as if he heard a voice so clearly say, “Why not you?”
Almost everybody at some time or another asks that same question, “Why me, Lord?” Have you ever asked it? I have, and generally no sooner do I ask it than my heart reproves me. Who am I to question a loving God who said, “I work all things for good in the lives of you who love Me and keep My commandments”?
I know that this question was in the heart of a young attorney who sat in my office recently and wept bitter tears of sorrow. He finished law school a year ago, and had just obtained his first position. To obtain the money for school, he took out another mortgage on his house, and with his wife working to support the family, he went back to school. A year after he had entered private practice, his world fell apart. The job had not worked out. In a month, he would be out of work. He was mad at his boss and mad at God. “Why me, Lord?” he cried out.
A young mother described the anguish she felt as her baby of three days died with respiratory problems. “Why my baby? Why should it happen to us when there are so many girls who do not want babies and yet have them, but we wanted one and couldn’t have one?” Is there any answer which satisfies the human heart when things do not go right?
Frankly, some of our distress is based upon a misunderstanding of what it means to be God’s child. A lot of us have grown up with the notion that being God’s child means we always get the promotion, the sky is always blue, sickness is not going to come our way, and your mother-in-law will not come to live with you indefinitely. We seem to forget that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust, and that the sun, which causes the grain to grow in the fields of the believers, also causes the grain to grow in the fields of the unbelievers. Most of all, we have forgotten that God promised to walk with us through the valley, to let us sense His presence, to be with us in times of difficulty – but never, never to exempt us from the battle.
How much better to know that in times of difficulty God will meet us, rather than to be excused from some of the challenges of life, and to wonder whether our God is big enough to meet us in the time of crisis. As I talked with a friend, I was asked, “Do your words ever come back to haunt you?” I quickly answered, “They certainly do, just like a boomerang. At times, they fly back to hit me in the face.”
Much, however, of what I share with you are lessons that God has taught me–at times the hard way. Settle it in your mind once and for all. His Word is true, and when He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” He meant just that–whether you are in the valley or on the mountaintop. The next time you–like Stanley Collins–are tempted to say, “Why me, Lord?” listen carefully and you are apt to hear those words, “Why not you? Remember, I will be with you when you walk through the valley.”