Monday, July 4, 2011

Why Me?

                                     Why Me?

I’m reading the book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston. You’ll know who he is if I tell you that he’s the young man who amputated his right arm which was caught between a boulder and a canyon wall during what began as a routine day hike in the canyons of Utah. From midday Saturday, April 26, 2003, until midday Thursday, May 1, with very little food and water, he chronicles his desperate attempts to free himself, his poignant videotaped farewell messages to family after his body would be discovered.

His is an amazing story of one man’s courage and survival in the midst of unbelievable odds. But what is missing throughout the book is any belief in God. At one point during his ordeal, Aron prays to God (although we don’t know which God he is praying to) but when he doesn’t get an immediate answer, he starts praying to Satan, in an attempt to make a deal with the devil.

What is astounding to me is that in the midst of a 120 hrs of self-examination and introspection, he never really considers that God can save him and deliver him. He never comes to grips with his sinful, selfish existence which has led him to this terrifying ordeal. The person of Jesus Christ doesn’t really exist in Aron’s mind other than some ancient historical figure, or a “swear word.” I am left wondering why doesn’t Aron call upon the name of the Lord? Why do I see things differently? Why do I hope in God? Why has God opened my eyes?

The other thing that has got me asking the question “Why me” is the 1995 movie, Apollo 13. To refresh your memory, Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970, and two days later an oxygen tank ruptures which crippled the space module. The crew lost cabin heat, had a shortage of water, and had to jury-rig a carbon dioxide removal system, but they safely returned to earth on April 17. However, nowhere in the movie are the astronauts shown praying to God, or even asking for prayer. Their hope of rescue is solely pinned on the ingenuity of the NASA scientists at Mission Control in Houston with the now famous line, "Houston, we have a problem." The movie does depict the intercessory prayers of Christians around the world on behalf of these astronauts.

After viewing Apollo 13, I was struck by the fact that the Apollo 13 crew was in a critical situation where they might never make it back to earth, and at no time did the thought occur to them to call upon the Lord and ask him to save them. The Almighty God, El-Shaddai, was totally non-existent as far as they were concerned. In a sense, they were out there in surrounded by God’s presence and his cosmos, yet clueless to His existence or ability to intervene in their situation.

So after reading “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and seeing the movie, Apollo 13, I am left asking the question: “Why me?” Why did God choose me? Why are my eyes opened when Aron Ralston’s and the Apollo 13 astronauts are left with scales covering their eyes and minds which have yet to be invaded by the God who is there.

Why did God choose to open my blind eyes to his existence? I don’t know. I do know that I am no more deserving that Aron Ralston or the Apollo 13 astronauts. I also know that it has nothing to do with my spirituality, but has everything to do with God’s grace and mercy.

Throughout the Bible, we see God making choices. He chooses Abram to leave his family in Haran and venture out to an unknown land, following a God he doesn’t even know. God tells him that He will bless him and make his name great and from him there will come a mighty nation. God chooses Jacob over Esau before they were even born. It had nothing to do with performance, or being good or bad, it was God’s call before they even came out of the womb. God chose David while he was sitting on a hillside guarding his sheep and his brothers were being examined by Samuel to determine who would be Israel’s next king. God calls Saul of Tarsus while on the Damascus Road intent on destroying the followers of Jesus the Nazarene. That’s why Paul could write in 1 Corinthians, Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…”  It’s also why Peter begins his epistle with, “ Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world…” 
Who are God’s elect? His elect are all those chosen to hear His voice and follow Him. He goes on to say in  1 Peter 2:9-10, 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
I am thankful that Jesus found me when I wasn’t even looking for him. I am thankful that He led me to a Billy Graham Crusade at the age of 14 and showed me my need for a savior. It’s all a work of grace. I don’t deserve his salvation, no one does. So I am left with the desire to pray for Aron Ralston that he too will have his eyes opened, that the Lord will show Himself to Aron and capture his heart and mind.
As for why me, I can doing nothing more than worship and praise the Alpha and Omega, the Holy One of Israel, the Sure Foundation, the Great Shepherd, the Bread of Life, Shepherd of our Souls, the Captain of our Salvation, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Almighty God in whom we live and move and have our being. 

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