By Edwin Christiaan

No, this is not about the late Johnny Cash singing the famous song ‘Why me, Lord?’ That song’s lyric is about someone who cannot understand why Jesus loves him so, even though he did nothing good to deserve it. But this study is about believers who, on the other hand, cannot understand why they are the ones who have to go through the difficulties and testing’s of life and then you hear them complain, “Why me, Lord?”

These are people who are feeling unfairly treated when they have losses, feeling all alone in the world, as if they are the only one’s experiencing hardships. They also say things like, “You don’t really understand what I’m going through,” or, “You don’t have the problems that I have,” “Everybody is against me” or, “God is always hard on me,” and, “Why do I have to suffer all this,” “It is so unfair…Why don’t God pick on somebody else and give me a break?”

Well, let me be the one to break it you: This is absolutely not a strange phenomenon!

All believers face trials, tough times and suffering, and must accept them, and learn to deal with them appropriately – God’s way.

The testing trials are part of God’s refining process in our lives that burns away impurities, and prepares us to meet with our bridegroom Jesus Christ, who is coming back.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

1. Peter 4:12 NLT

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

1. Peter 1:7 NLT

We will be tested as Christians by being persecuted for our faith; even in our own family circle we will encounter resistance. That is why Jesus said:

Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Matthew 10:34-35 NLT

God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers.

Matthew 5:11 NLT

Trials are designed, and allowed by God, to build our characters as we learn, going through it, to endure and to be patient. These are the ingredients, we are going to need in order for us to be able to peacefully trust and wait for God to act on our behalf in problems and difficult circumstances.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.

Romans 5:3-4 NLT

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

James 1:2-4 NLT

But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Hebrews 12:10-11 NLT

Not all suffering comes as a result of good Christian behavior. It takes discernment and wise counsel to determine the real cause for our suffering. Some Christians endure self inflicted suffering because of their unpleasant attitude, or cause themselves to end up in unnecessary suffering because they attract the wrong people and relationships, as a result of wounds, generational curses, and rebellious choices. The Bible warns that “bad company corrupts good character.” (1. Corinthians 15:33 NLT)

If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.

1. Peter 4:15-16 NLT

What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people.

1. Corinthians 5:11 NLT

Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.

Romans 16:17-18 NLT

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn’t follow the tradition of hard work we gave you.

2. Thessalonians 3:6 NLT

Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but speak to them as you would to a Christian who needs to be warned.

2. Thessalonians 3:11, 14b-15 NLT

How are we supposed to behave as we go though trials?

Instead, be very glad — because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you.

1. Peter 4:13-14 NLT

The point is here, that we do not have to pretend to be happy when facing painful situations, but that we have a positive outlook on our circumstances, knowing what these trials and problems can produce in our lives. These trials will make us grow and become strong and able to help those around us who are weak and struggling.

So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you.

1. Peter 4:19 NLT

So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.

Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing,…

Philippians 2:14 NLT

Two ways of suffering

In conclusion, there are two ways to endure suffering: one from doing God’s will and one from doing wrong. There are also two ways of asking “Why” to God: One way is to complain and cry “why, why, why” to God without really wanting an answer, but just wanting to vent our frustration. And the other asking “why” is when we earnestly inquire an answer from the Lord why He allowed this to happen, why He chose us for this painful task, and where this trial is leading. Then we will wait for His answer, and accept whatever He says no matter the personal cost.

If you are or have been suffering for a godly cause, this is why it happened to you:

And Jesus replied, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property — with persecutions.”

Mark 10:29-30 NLT

Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

2. Timothy 3:11-13 NLT

As we mature as Christians, we learn never to ask the question “why” altogether; because we trust that whatever God does in our lives will always have a good outcome no matter what the circumstances may look like.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.

Romans 8:26a NLT

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

Romans 8:28 NLT

Copyright©2009 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan