In a conversation this week, talking about the horrible happenings weaved throughout this persons life, the question was posed “what did I do to deserve this life?” The thought was chilling, and unsettling. I don’t know that we really deserve any of it….any of the good or any of the bad. For what really could we do to deserve anything good in this life, and what could we do that would warrant such hard events? I know that if we really get spiritual here, there are probably very legitimate answers for these questions…..sin in the world causes us bad things in our life…or doing good for others often will allow us to reap plentiful benefits.
But in the simplicity of this question, ….I remembered a story in my past. I once had a wonderful band teacher. He always chose great music & taught us well. One particular choice of song, had a particularly difficult timpani piece. This he chose to give to me. The other parts he let the other percussionists choose for themselves, but for the timpani, he chose me to play. Just looking at the piece someone would understand this was not going to be easy. It had multiple tone changes, varying degrees of intensity within short measures, odd rhythms, parts where I was the only player amidst the entire band, & so on. I questioned his choice, pleading that I was not able to do this piece and that he should choose someone more capable. He insisted, and would hear none of my protest.
So I practiced, and I practiced, and I practiced, I screwed up & I practiced some more. Finally I was OK with the piece….just OK. And when it came to the concert, I stood & played…I was not perfect, but I was alright. I did better than I thought I would, that’s for sure. Later, I asked my instructor once more….why did you choose to give me such a difficult piece? Surely someone else could have done it better. To this he replied, “I knew you would have to work at it, but I wanted to see you try…” (this next part is what really got me) “…I chose it for you not because you were the best, but because I wanted you to see what you were capable of.”
In many ways, I see this situation as something similar if I now asked God why I deserved this life & the situations that fall into my way….He allows them to come not because I’ve done something to deserve them necessarily, but because he wants me to understand what I’m capable of overcoming when I trust Him.