AFTER a friend of mine had suffered a debilitating neck injury in an accident, a group of sympathizers asked him: ``Do you ever wonder `Why me?'"
My friend's reply may have surprised them. ``I know why me! he answered. Then he patiently explained why he expected his deep Christian faith to enable him to walk and move his limbs again. Above his bed, many signs encouraged him--taped to the ceiling by his family. The first to go up had been the Apostle Paul's counsel in his second letter to the Corinthians: ``For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
The last I heard, this man--who really does exude towering faith and deep kindness and love in his everyday affairs--is doing well. He's gaining strength and the use of his arms and legs in the face of predictions that he might completely lose the use of his limbs forever.
Still, when something catastrophic strikes, the ``Why me? question can haunt us. Nobody, however, is ever singled out for accident or tragedy. Indeed, the truth is that accident or tragedy is not any part of God's government of man. God is good, and He is divine Love itself. He neither causes nor permits loss, injury, sickness, death, or any affliction. Once when Christ Jesus' disciples asked him why a certain man had been born blind, he answered ``That the works of God should be made manifest in him." O f course, Jesus didn't leave it there. He illustrated ``the works of God" by restoring the man's sight through spiritual means.
Even if we seem to experience misfortune from time to time, we never need to accept loss or harm as either inevitable or irreparable. The presence of God and the magnitude of His love for us mean there is a way to restoration. And if we place ourselves wholeheartedly under God's guidance, we'll find the way. Often misfortune is imagined to be a tool of God--perhaps designed to teach us needed lessons. But though God is always teaching us, He does it in loving, intelligent ways, never in harsh or destruct ive ones. God is infinite Spirit, so He simply is too wise, too powerful, too intelligent, to permit evil to play any part in governing the man that He makes.
This is not to say that we shouldn't learn from setbacks--and most of the time we do. In the many trials of her life, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, could see God's guiding and guarding hand lifting her above these trials and strengthening her. And in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes of her discovery: ``God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of s cientific mental healing."
The Bible assures us that God does not allow even the suggestion of harm or loss to stay with one of His children--our true, spiritual selfhood. The promise is unconditional and universal. But what the Bible really gives is more than just assurance. It explains and illustrates how we can understand for ourselves the nature of God and the resulting nature of man.
Armed with such an understanding, and the God-given love that quickens our growth in this understanding, we can meet with grace whatever circumstance we may confront and gain the victory. Spiritual understanding is the solid framework wherein we can prove through prayer that there is no loss, nor harm under God's government. Then we too will say with confidence, ``I know why me! I know that man is chosen to glorify God, not to suffer evil. I have the God-given authority to prove that sickness or misfortu ne is never His will."