Why Me?

Life was good: two kids, a career in academia, and a decade of walking with Jesus. Then a decision from my early teens threatened to ruin it all. 

It was disorienting to realize that being a “new creation” did not entirely erase the consequences of bad decisions from the past. Reality was forcing me to wrestle with what it means that grace covers our sin. If “the old has gone and the new has come,” why was my past still haunting my present? I approached God and let him know that I didn’t think this was “fair.” 

Why now? Why me?

Yet, I remembered life was good. I realized that the sense of risk and loss I anticipated reflected how much God had given me.  

During the medical treatments that followed, God gave me the strength to teach every day and also moved me to allow my students to be a part of what I was going through, if they so desired. As teachers, the authority in the front of the room, the expert representing our field to our students, it feels unnatural to be vulnerable and admit weakness. 

Sharing my experiences openly with my students, however, created space for them to share their own experiences.

As Christian professors, every semester brings an entirely new “congregation” of students into our realm of influence. Each member of these congregations has a different past, different personality, and different needs. As we are open to receive the testimony of our classes, we are afforded the opportunity to share our lives with them as well. Not every student relates with our experiences, but every now and then, God brings things together for His good.

Over the past 15 years in class, I have heard many “confessions,” often in regard to sins and transgressions that students have experienced in their past. This past semester, a student shared with the “congregation” about his addiction to alcohol and drugs, and as a class, we celebrated his 1-year anniversary of sobriety. It was moving to watch a student be open and vulnerable with classmates. 

After the class had ended, I wondered, why was I allowed to witness this gift? Why now? Why this class? Why me?

Experiencing the ramifications of sin from my past surely helps shape my relationships and how I extend grace to others.   The “why me” in the beginning of this story came from a place of selfishness and entitlement.  However, after living through my challenges, the new “why me” now comes from a place of humility and recognizing I am unworthy of such great gifts from God. 

I’m learning to minister to others, not out of my strengths, but out of my weaknesses and God’s sufficient grace for my life.

Eric Jones
Stephen F Austin University