Why Me?

Years ago, a member of my family suffered a serious injury. Almost immediately, she asked the rhetorical question, “What did I do to deserve this?” Her question is a typical reaction to calamity.

Over the past few years, I’ve been asking the same question, but in a completely different context. As the Holy Spirit has (finally) convinced me that I played absolutely no part in my salvation, I’ve been asking, “Why me? Why would He choose someone as stubborn and prideful as me?” As I look at myself, I simply can’t find any logical reason that He would want me.

People have suggested that my disability gives God opportunity to display His glory, which is true on one level. They point to my writing abilities as their evidence that the Lord uses me, in my disability, to compose essays that direct others to Him. They mention my faith. How remarkable, they gush, that I trust in His goodness as I sit in this wheelchair! They really believe God brought me to salvation because my cheerful attitude in the face of adversity glorifies Him.

And maybe it does — on occasion.

The problem with that theory lies in the fact that there are many people more disabled, and yet vastly more accomplished, than I will ever be who do not know the Lord. Stephen Hawking comes to mind. Wouldn’t someone as brilliant as Hawking have served as a better showcase for God’s glory in the midst of disability than I? And yet, Hawking was an atheist who formulated theories in direct opposition to the Biblical account of creation. Why didn’t God save him and use his astounding intellect to promote Creation Science?

I can’t see any reason for God to choose me based on how I’ve overcome my disability. I certainly acknowledge His grace in using me with my disability, but when so many others with disabilities aren’t Christians, I seriously doubt that my Cerebral Palsy has anything to do with His decision to save me.

In recent weeks, the Lord has been using the opening verses of Ephesians 1 to reframe how I think about the “Why me” question. Looking at the verses about election and predestination, I see a very clear answer that I’d always overlooked.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. ~~Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB95)

The key is verse 6. God predestined us to the praise of His glory. It’s not about us at all! This text indicates that He chooses His elect solely to display His glory, having nothing at all to do with us. He chose DebbieLynne Kespert but didn’t choose Stephen Hawking for His purposes. Does that mean He saw that I have greater potential to glorify Him than Stephen Hawking had? The passage doesn’t say so. It doesn’t even hint at such a possibility.

It sounds humble to ask, “Why me?” And someone new to the doctrines of grace probably ought to go through a time of feeling wonder that the Father would graciously choose her. But as time goes on, even that framing of the question can degenerate into the unspoken assumption that He chooses people because we somehow have something within ourselves that could bring Him glory. Very subtly, we, once again shift the spotlight away from the Lord and onto ourselves. Although we no longer credit ourselves with deciding to follow Jesus, we still find ourselves believing that somehow we merit His mercy, or that He saved us because we possess some sort of raw material that He can utilize for His glory.

Scripture thwarts even those imaginations. In teaching that His kind intention caused Him to predestine us to the praise of His glory, it redirects the focus back on Him. We don’t need to figure out how His choice of us glorifies Him. To be, blunt, that’s none of our business. We need only to praise Him for His grace and to express our thanks by joyfully serving Him.

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