When we were growing up, my brother and I, one of our favorite things to say (as I’m sure is true of most kids) was “but that’s not faaaaairrrr!” – you know, with the head thrown back and the feet dragging on the carpet.
My mom’s response was always the same. “Where in the bible does it say that life is fair?” Oooh, we hated that. But she was right.
God is a just god (Deut. 32:4, Isa.5:16, Luke 18:7). God is right and true (Ps. 48:10, 2 Sam. 22:31, Proverbs 30:5) . God is pure and holy (1 Sam. 2:2, Psalm 77:13, Psalm 99:5). But the bible never says that life is fair in the way that the world defines fair. In fact, the bible says that things will be different for God’s children–very “un-worldly” (John 14:27, John 15:19, John 17:16).
The bible does not say we’ll all get everything we want or think we need. It says that we will have what we need (Matt. 6:25-34, Phil:4:14-20) . It does not say that we will have as much as everybody else has. It tells us to be content with what God has given us, and to trust Him (Phil. 4:4-7,11-13; 1 Tim. 6:6-10, Heb. 13:1-6). The bible instructs us not to envy or covet or be greedy. That goes for money, status, food, clothes, friends, abilities, relationships, or material possessions.
I realize it’s very easy to say these things and it’s not always easy to do them. It’s difficult for a mom not to worry about feeding her children when her pantry and her pockets are nearly empty. It’s hard for a parent not to covet when they don’t have the medicines they need for their child. It isn’t easy for a wife not to envy time with her husband who isn’t spending enough time at home – or vice versa. I could go on and on.
Actually, I don’t believe these desires themselves are bad. God created us with the desire to take care of and provide for our children. He created us with a desire and need to be close to our spouses. Therefore, I don’t think it’s wrong to be concerned about these things. It’s a good bet that we will worry about these things from time to time. But what do we do with these worries when they arise? That is the question. What do we do if we find ourselves poor? Or homeless? Or jobless? Or with a life-threatening disease?
Do we trust God? Or do we act out like the teenager in the above description? Do we throw our head back, drag our feet and scream “it’s not fair!”? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to. Sometimes I feel like kicking and screaming and having my own personal little temper tantrum.
Does that help? Is that God-honoring? Of course not. In truth, if we live our lives comparing ourselves to what others have that we don’t have, we’ll be too busy throwing our own temper tantrums to notice that everybody else is going through their own trials. Life is hard. Life is not fair. But for those who have hope in Christ, that is not the end of the story. Life is not fair, but God is good.
God promises to take care of us. He promises to meet our needs. He may or may not make us rich, or give us a bigger house, or heal our diseases. Whether he does or doesn’t, He will give us what we need in those circumstances. Yes, He may work out the details– for grocery and utility assistance, for finding an excellent doctor, reconciliation in a relationship, etc. More importantly, He will give us hope, peace, trust, joy, contentment, and the knowledge that He is with us. If we call on God, He will give us what we need INSIDE to carry on. HIM.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Psalm73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
2Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2Corinthians 4:8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Life is not fair. But God is Good. All the time.
By the way, for those of you have never seen this before, I thought you might enjoy this video… consider this not an example of good parenting, but rather as an example of how we’re not supposed react as children of God. 🙂
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.