Aloha Friday Message – March 9, 2018 – Why me?

1810AFC030918 – Why me?

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Ephesians 2:10 –  10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. New English Translation (NET)

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today I am sharing with you some of the things we often do not share. In our family this week we are experiencing new sorrows that are not new and old memories that are no longer old. A much-loved family member has died. A dear friend who has been gravely ill and yet supremely courageous has learned – as one battle draws to a close – that there is a greater battle ahead. As you well know from in depths of your own heart, it hurts. Even if we know better, we can sometimes hear ourselves saying “Why me?” or “Why her?” or “Why this?” or “Why now?” or “Why must we suffer this?”  or “Why, God, why?!?”

That’s a good question. “Why God?” What good is it to know God if knowing God cannot prevent or end our suffering? So many times people will say that suffering is meaningless, or that it was punishment from God. Not so!! Faith, strength, endurance, patience, wisdom, leadership, and holiness are the fruits of suffering. For you, whom I love so deeply, I dread to see your suffering even if it means – sometime, eventually – the enrichment of your life and the betterment of the world. “What do you mean by that?”  I mean I need to be reminded that God prepares us for what we need to do … my old friend Abraham continues to teach me that. Asking “Why God” is important if we choose to know God, but I think it’s even more important if we choose not to know God. What is God doing in our lives if we suffer regardless of whether or not we know him? We might as well ask “What is the purpose of God?” That seems to be a popular question these days. For millennia humans have been asking that, and through much consideration of that issue, we came to learn that we cannot understand any sort of answer to “Why God?” unless we can answer “Why me?” Why am I, why are you, why are we – all of us – here? That is one of the fundamental questions in Catechisms. Here are some examples:

Do you remember the movie Alfie? (↔ Music Link) The theme song lyrics begin with “What’s it all about, Alfie?” A few lines farther in we hear, “Are we meant to take more than we give or are we meant to be kind?” If we ponder what we see in the news reports every day, it might be fair to say that about half of the people are committed to being unkind to the other half, and it’s often hard to tell which half originally chose that lack of kindness. If we are created to know and to love God and each other, why can’t we? I believe it is, in part, because we don’t take time to know what God had in mind when he created us – and frankly some of us have doubts as to whether or not God did create any of us.

When I hear those doubts expressed, I turn to The Word because I know Truth to be there. Here are some things that God gave us through his servants to help us better understand why he would do such an audacious thing as creating us. How can the instructions from God we received through the prophets be of any value to us, fellow humans with God’s chosen spokespersons?

2 Peter 1:20-2220 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Ah. Now that makes sense to me. In today’s Key Verse, the Apostle Paul says, “… having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.” We know that Christ was with God at creation (John 1:1-3), so the good things that we choose to do in our lives were established in us from Day Zero. Moses alluded to that when he told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 5:32-3332 You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left. 33 You must follow exactly the path that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you are to possess. That’s really straight forward – literally – go on the path God gives us and do not wander off.

It is so difficult to do that – to stick to the path and not wander off. But give ear to what Jeremiah has to say about that in Jeremiah 32:39-4039 I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me. They will want to do that for their own good and the good of the children who descend from them. 40 I will make a lasting covenant with them that I will never stop doing good to them. I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that they will never again turn away from me. New English Translation (NET) Does it ever seem to you that it is difficult if not impossible these days to be like-minded with everyone? I can honestly tell you it’s difficult to be like-minded with Christians as a whole, or even within a denomination, or a city, or … or a family. What does it take to be like-minded?

Being like-minded means making room for another mind; and then making room for another mind; and then making room for another mind; and so on. Selfish pride is what Satan uses to divide us from God and from each other. “Are we meant to take more than we give or are we meant to be kind?” It’s hard to do that – to be kind – if we insist that we should “just be human.” THERE ARE BETTER THINGS! Isaiah 43:19-2119 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

God created us in his image and likeness. He chose a particular group of humans to be his witnesses to the World – Believers. Throughout the history of Israel, they were a nation of believers set aside – consecrated – by God to bear witness that God is powerful, gracious and good. For thousands of years he sent us messengers to tell us we need to remember that. Was there condemnation for forgetting? Yes, there was, and as a consequence of those failures to obey, God promised – in very clear terms – that he would make it easier to remember: 2 Corinthians 5:1717 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (Please use the following link to see this marvelous assurance in context. There are many scriptural gems here! 2 Corinthians 5:1-17). How’s that for keeping a promise!

And what is this new thing? It is a New Life! Do you remember Art Garfunkel’s soulful ballad “Old Man?” (↔ Music Link) in the last verse, he sings, “Won’t be no God to comfort you,  you taught me not to believe that lie.” How can this be true when in these writings we have consistently said that we are gifted with Eternal Life. It is true in the Worldly sense, but in a biblical sense it is perfectly untrue: Romans 6:6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. That “old man,” the sinner who rejects God, is made new through the choice of returning God’s endless love. And it’s not as if none of us know how to make that change. Even here, the Word is crystal clear: Ephesians 4:22-2422 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 1 John 1:5-7This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Why are we given this message? Why does God keep wanting us to be like him and show others his Love? Here is Jesus’ teaching on that matter: Matthew 5:14-1614 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

If you are asking, “What does all this have to do with suffering?” the reply is “everything.” When we share another’s suffering and sorrow, we are witnessing to the powerful love of God. We are showing the World what it means to be making room for another mind; and then making room for another mind; and then making room for another mind; and so on. Be a believer who believes in other believers and then serves them.  And if you don’t believe? Not all of you will accept this, perhaps, but I feel quite strongly that every good thing in your life is there for you by the Grace of God through Jesus who is the Word of Truth. No good thing or act – past, present, or future – could exist without His will. God is praised in all of those good things which come to us only through Jesus because everything that Jesus is or does is of, through, and by God. Nothing can supersede, exceed, or surpass those gifts. All that is required to make them realities present in your own day-to-day existence is to honor the Giver by accepting the Gift. Is today the day you will honor the Giver and accept the Gift as Savior and Lord? I do that every day, and I am inviting you to join me.

That is how God works in us, works through us, and works for us. Again, turning to the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12-1312 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. When we share our thoughts, words, and deeds, our works, our prayers, our joys, our sorrows, our victories and our defeats, our fears and anxieties, our hearts’ desires, everything we do and everything we fail to do, all that we are and all that we have with each other, we are giving God worship and praise because we are  created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.

Belovéd, in this sharing we have much Hope, because it is sharing Love and God is love!

GOD ≡ LOVE ≡ LIGHT ≡ WAY ≡ TRUTH ≡ LIFE

“Why me?” Because God chose me, and you, and us, before we even knew him so that he could love us so much we would love him in return.

Share-A-Prayer

  • For JE – a lifetime of illnesses and suffering, now dealing with psoriatic arthritis and experiencing much pain and frequent falls.
  • For IDC – on the verge of beating breast cancer and now faced with brain cancer.
  • For RR and her entire family grieving the passing of another loved-one.
  • For all the chronically ill who endure pain and many other discomforts, please, let’s make time to be in unity with another mind; and then make room for another mind; and then make room for another mind; and so on. Especially for NAS, RB, KD, DP, LC, KW,FO, and AD, Let us pray to the Lord. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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