Life isn’t fair all the time. Helpless children suffer for their parents’ mistakes. Some who work hard are cut down prematurely by accident or disease. Others who hardly work inherit the wealth of someone else’s labor. God is no respecter of persons, and Christians get hit as much as non-christians.
Solomon, wise as he was, observed long ago that life on earth fails the test of fairness. In his later years he wrote, “I returned and saw under the sun that …the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Eccl. 9:11
For as long as possible we try to shield our children from the naked injustices of life. We talk to them about the wisdom of hard work and good choices. We teach our little ones that good things happen to good people and that bad things happen to bad people. But in reflective moments, we know that the rules we teach only work for some of the people, some of the time. I was saved, since 1982, with a small child then, (3 grown) I’d had at 40, little did I know as I gave my heart to Jesus Christ, that he would die of his own hand, in deep depression of bi-polar disease, and break my heart 9 1/2 years ago. But, I never asked God why, and I stayed in such grief then searching scriptures in mourning, then giving thanks for this young man had been saved at 11 years old, 8/2/91. I know where he is, with Jesus, and know one day I’ll see that grinning face again: healed, no more grief, no more depression, no more pain.
It is no wonder, that some feel that life and God is not fair. We are not the first to have doubts about the fairness of God. The author of Psalm 73 felt his faith crumbling under the weight of unfair circumstances. At first he was afraid to say what he was thinking. He was overwhelmed by injustices that shouted down his faith. In the shadows of his mind he wondered whether his belief in God had been a waste of time and opportunity. (v13) Then something happened. From a window in “a sanctuary,” the songwriter saw further than he had ever seen before. The future of those he had been envying came into focus. A life that began like a street game took on the look of the end of a game of chess. Suddenly the author of Psalm 73 remembered that no one out thinks God’s final moves. Remember that! No one out thinks God’s final moves…AND that also includes the reason, He has for allowing this election. That realization when you think about it is a comfort..
As the songwriter wrote, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with You counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.” (v21-25) In mourning, troubled, when jobless, in a recession, ailing, in desperation, hurt over losses or loves, there is only one that can give us a reason to continue living. For no matter what we are not to give up.
But, look at Job. Job is one of my favorite characters in the Bible, for we can learn much from him. The story of a man who struggled for his very sanity in the aftermath of personal loss. But, we also see in the very first Chapter that Satan too, has access to the throne of God, and God allows us sometimes to be tested. Along the way all his well-meaning friends turned against him. They accused him of hiding the wrong that would explain his suffering. In long speeches and drawn-out arguments they insisted that Job couldn’t fool them by his false claims of innocence. Together they condemned him with the logic of their theology. They argued by theory and practice that God is fair. They wanted him to admit that we experience happiness or pain in proportion to our own choices. Or, as I used to hear many many years ago, but those in church, “where is your faith? ” or ” their must be sin in your life” . Job didn’t buy it anymore than I did way back. He knew they were wrong. He wasn’t hiding a secret sin that would explain why he was suffering and they weren’t.
Finally, God used a violent thunderstorm rather than the quiet of a sanctuary. As Job argued with his friends, dark clouds moved in (Job 37). Lightning flashed. The ground shook. And out of the storm God broke His silence (38) Yet, when God spoke, He didn’t give Job the answ4er of Psalm 73. He didn’t tell Job to wait for a future day of judgment. Neither did God point to the risks of living in a fallen world. The Lord didn’t even blame Satan for sponsoring all the terrible things that had happened to Job, his wife , and his children.
Instead, God took Job to the forest. He took him to the ocean. To the mountains,. To a midnight sky. To the flashing violence of a thunderstorm. To the shadow of His presence in nature. To the natural wonder of a God who uses the blackness of night to give birth to the morning. Job saw the natural world around him as he had never seen before. I’ve been there where Job was after I lost my son. God gave me art talent and writing talent. Through all my tears for 3 1/2 years, sobbing alone, even enduring a mini stroke with a broken heart, I kept on in the word, and using what He gave me. Then one day, I found myself healed..with a calmness of spirit, a deep sweetness of the Holy Spirit surrounding me, and I felt such an overwhelming presence of God knowing I would make it through and one day be totally renewed, when I come home to Jesus. Like Job, God said, “Look around you, look at what I already have done. If you can hear My voice in this powerful storm, and if you can see MY signature and fingerprints all over the world around you, (and in the beauty of what I was painting), can you trust Me to know what is best for you now?
If we could have seen Job through the eyes of his friends, (as mine also who didn’t know what to do with me) we would have seen his muscles relax. We would have heard him say to an invisible Presence, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You…I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but, now my eye sees You. Therefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)
I had no idea what God was doing in my life. But , this I do know. Sometimes, us that are besieged with so much pain and grief, alone with God, no husband or wife or child beside us, can become so close to God. We don’t have anyone else to answer to except Him. I talk to him all day long. He is my husband, my father, my friend, my comforter, my confider, my judge, my encourager, my lover, my critic, my supporter, my everything…Here with me when I get up in the morning, and when I go to sleep, when I have troubled nights, or have too much arthritic pain, or whether I am joyful at some minute thing as seeing birds out on my feeder or listening to my Edie, purr and love me. He is here in spirit and I may be closer to Him than in all my life young, and sometimes it takes what Job went through and a tragedy, but, never doubt His love. But, I don’t have the other distractions or the business of the world, jobs, a mate, etc. anymore. I can just languish in His love, which casts out all the unfairness the world has ever put on me.
Some may think this election wasn’t fair either. Some still fighting, with ballots too, that may have been compromised in different states. But, the ultimate judgement will come from God to deal with injustices.
I pray you seek a personal relationship with Jesus, and get to know how wonderful the Holy Spirit, our comforter He left behind is. He never leaves me..and He’ll be there to walk me through Heaven’s door when God calls. There is only one that I love, and His name is Jesus. There is no unfairness of the world that He can’t overcome. Thank you Jesus, for seeing me through. I pray my friend, you’ll let Him in your heart.
(excerpts from RBC ministries May 2003)