When we utter “Why me God?”

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When do we utter “why me God?”  Sometimes It happens when we have felt His calling on our lives to do something for Him.  Other times we utter it out of frustration at life’s circumstances.

If we are honest with ourselves, at times, we doubt that God even has a plan for us.  This doubt may appear and disappear in a moment but still it is present in our thoughts and lives.  We fear and sometimes question if God truly knows what He is doing with us.  Don’t take this the wrong way, but faith sometimes makes it hard for us to grasp the tangible of the unseen.  Does it mean that God isn’t there or He doesn’t know what He’s doing?  Certainly NOT!

Let me be clear, God has a plan for each of us, you can be certain of that!  Does it necessarily mean that He  is involved in all of our steps?  I don’t think so, be His presence is certainly there.  Rather in the grand scheme of our lives He would love nothing more to forge us into His holy image and guides our steps in that matter.

How should we then respond to God in our circumstances and in His calling on our lives?

There are two biblical examples that I would like to draw from:

1) Samuel

He didn’t quite know who was calling him initially.  It is recorded in 1 Samuel that the word of the Lord was very rare in his day…so God calls Samuel in the middle of the night.   Samuel thinks that the high priest Eli is calling him.   So Samuel gets up and makes his way to Eli, but Eli awakens and says “I didn’t call you.  Samuel gets called two additional times, and each time he awakens and goes to see what Eli wants.  Finally Eli wises up and says;   “Samuel when you hear the voice calling you again say ‘Speak Lord for your servant is listening‘”.  (1 Samuel 3:1-10)  And so God calls to Samuel again and this time Samuel doesn’t respond with “Why me God?” but instead he responds just as Eli instructed him to.  Thus begins the calling and ministry of Samuel and his willingness to obey the Lord when He called.

2) Isaiah

God gives Isaiah an epic vision of heaven.  God is on His throne, and all around there are angelic creatures and angels calling out in worship to God, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!     The whole earth is filled with his glory!” As Isaiah is viewing this majestic scene, he quickly realizes that he is doomed to be in the holy presence of the Almighty.  He is confronted with his own sin and the sins of his people.  How could he possibly compare to the perfection of God who is in the very room as he?  And so Isaiah, perhaps wants to utter “Why me God” but he can’t because He is blown away by God’s very presence and Isaiah’s utter failings and sin.  In response to his damning pronunciation one of the Seraphim  flies over and brings a coal from the altar of the Lord and touches Isaiah’s lips.  Isaiah is purified of his sins and is finally able to respond to a question that God then asks; ” Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”  Isaiah doesn’t say “pick someone else“, nor does he say “why me?“, but rather he simply says, “Here I am, Lord send me.”  (Isaiah 6:1-8)

What happens when God calls us?

What is our response to His holy calling?  Our response ought to be similar to Isaiah’s response “Here I am, Lord send me!”  There might be times when we doubt.  There might be times when we feel like asking “Why me God?”  Yet when He calls to us and asks something of us, even despite our doubts, the appropriate response is “Here I am, send me!”

This response is a dangerous response.  It is a response that says, “Lord I’m going to trust you fully“.  It’s a response that says “despite the places and the people you send me to I will go!”  Yet the journey will be rewarding…not always but in the long run so very much more rewarding than refusing to go.  We aren’t forced to go where God tells us to go.  Nor are we robots in our decisions.  God listens to us and to our concerns.  He hears our worries and our desires.  Faith leads us into a deeper relationship with God.  Faith helps us to realize that His plans are perfect, He can use us and we can be worthy of His calling.

What will our response be to His calling?  Will it be “Why me God?”  Or will it be “Here I am, Lord send me!”

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“Woe to me” -A Holy Response

“Holiness is not absolute perfection, which belongs to God only; nor is it angelic perfection; nor is it Adamic perfection — for, no doubt, Adam had a perfect head as well as a perfect heart before he sinned against God. But it is Christian perfection — such perfection and obedience of the heart as a poor fallen creature, aided by almighty power and boundless grace, can give.” –Samuel Logan Brengle

Isaiah 6:3-8 (NIV)
3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

This is probably my favorite passage on holiness, anointing, and appointing.  Recently our church has begun a bible study series and sermon series on the topic of metamorphosis…and I can tell you right now that it is very difficult – next to impossible to preach and teach on such subjects and not be compelled, convicted and motivated to do the same in my personal life.  This topic of metamorphosis is more about holiness than it is about a self-help topic to church goers.  How can we, sinners saved by grace transform ourselves by our own power…the short answer is we can’t!  The power to do such saving, delivering and transforming is God’s alone.  His Holy Spirit alone has the power to transform us from the inside out, but don’t think for a moment that we do not have some responsibility in this transforming process.  Our responsibilities begin and end with our free-will.  We have to choose, we have to want this transformational power.

The prophet Isaiah writes in these verses that when he was in the presence of God he was convicted of how imperfect and unholy he truly was; “Woe to me!” I cried.  “I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (v5)  I do not believe this to be some sort of preamble or allegory to explain his message to the people of Israel; I believe this to be Isaiah’s actual response to the very presence of God.  This is his eye witness report and his response. When God’s fallen creation stands before Him, we cannot but help notice our imperfections, our failures, our unworthiness in the light of His perfection and might.

Do you want to know a really wonderful fact about our God?  He is not content to let us remain that way!  God, through the power Holy Spirit, desires each of us to come face to face with our inadequacies, our imperfections, our faults.  When this happens, one of two things takes place, we either reject these promptings and ignore what He’s revealing to us, or we are brought to our knees in repentance and conviction declaring like Isaiah, “Woe to me, I am ruined!”   It might not be exactly that drastic, but the sense of heart wrenching conviction ought to drive us to our knees again seeking not only God’s forgiveness, but God’s power to be transformed, renewed and holier than before.

You see, God has the remedy for our imperfections, our faults and our failures.  Like Isaiah, who was broken in the presence of God, we too have to be broken vessels before we can be vessels for His purpose and His purpose alone.  When He breaks us, He replaces our imperfect pieces with His holiness further restoring that image of Him in us.  When Isaiah is touched with the hot coals by the Seraph, God’s purity touched impurity, and guess which one won?  Of course the purity and holiness of God cleansed and removed the guilt and shame of sin!

The awesome thing here for us to glean is that God wants to do this with you and me as well!    We may not be a mighty prophet like Isaiah, but we are children of God and because of this, God will not settle for the old imperfections and sin in our new lives and we shouldn’t either!     2 Corinthians 5:17 says; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  Christ is and should be the blueprint of godly living for us in our lives today!  When we give up our selfish desires, our foolish pride, and surrender our old ways of living, God can then begin this amazing transformation in us.

Lastly, the evidence of a transformed and holy life is the yearning and painful groaning in our hearts for the rest of humanity.  When God has saved us, and is transforming us with His holiness; when our pride and our selfishness is no more, we then begin to see how desperately the people around us also need this transformation in their lives as well…when that happens, we cannot help but say like Isaiah, “Here am I, send me!”  Because it is then no longer about us, our pride, our desire for notoriety, it is about the power of God and His desire for right relationship with His creation – mankind.

This transformation of Holiness begins on our knees, as we too declare “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”  It’s not about beating ourselves up, it’s about humbling ourselves before God and allowing Him to penetrate our hearts and lives with His transforming power!

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