God, why are You doing this to me? Many times I have been tempted to ask this very question. I'm trying to follow God's calling in my life, but things keep going from bad to worse. And I'm left asking, "Why?'" Why is it that every time I make up my mind to take my faith more seriously, things go south? Why can I never seem to get ahead?
This morning, as I was reading my Bible a light bulb went off in my head. What if things seem to go from bad to worse because we are in the middle of the story? What if the story isn't over yet? Think of your favorite movie or book. Did you stop watching/reading in the middle? Did you give up when the hero got knocked down? Did you lose all hope when the villain landed the first punch? No, you kept going, knowing that good would win in the end. You turned the next page having faith that all was not lost. No matter how bad things seemed in the moment, you believed everything would work out in the end.
But, imagine for a second that you had stopped in the middle. Imagine you thought that was the end, that all hope was lost, that it was only downhill from there. Imagine if you thought that this was all the better things were going to get. Imagine not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You would not be the first person to do this. In fact, there is a whole portion of scripture when most all the of the Israelites can't see the end of the story. Exodus 5 finds the Israelites as slaves in Egypt. Pharoah is actively trying to destroy them, even killing their baby boys. Their days are filled with making bricks and manual labor. It is a dark and dreary time.
Then, Moses comes back on the scene claiming that God is going to deliver them, promising that God is going to rescue them from their oppressors, but all that Moses manages to do is make Pharoah mad. Moses goes to Pharoah and asks him to let the Israelites go, but Pharoah does the opposite. He rewards Moses' faith with a punishment. Moses goes to Pharoah again and again, but things keep getting worse. So, the Israelites start to grumble and even Moses asks, "Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23 NLT)
At this moment, things have gone from bad to worse. The people were already slaves, and now they are being abused even more. Moses is left asking, "God, why?". God, why are you doing this to me? Why are you making my loved ones suffer? God, why?
Some days I find myself asking the same questions. God, why? God, why can't I ever seem to get ahead? God, why did my granddad have to die so young? God, why are finances so tight? God, why does my truck always break down at the worst times? God, why can't I kick this habit? God, why do I feel depressed? God, why?
Why do things always seem to go from bad to worse?
Maybe the answer is that the story isn't over. Maybe things seem so bad because we have hit the low point of the story. If we give up now, we will never know how good the end of the story could have been. You may know the end of Moses' story. Moses held fast in faith, and he led the Israelites out of slavery. The Israelites leave Egypt as free men and women on their way to the Promised Land.
We, too, know the end of our story. We have seen the light at the end of the dark tunnel, and His name is Jesus. No matter how bad things get in this life, no matter how dark it seems in the moment, we know that this is not the end of the story. I know that no matter what happens, I will rise in the end. I know that I have been promised both eternal and abundant life (John 3:16, John 10:10). I know that my savior will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I know the end of the story. So when things seem to go from bad to worse, I tell myself to turn the page, the story isn't over yet...