It’s Not Fair!

I’ve been reading a book titled Disappointment with God, by Philip Yancey. It tackles a similar subject to the one we talked about last week – the concept of fairness. Is God unfair? Is God hidden? Is He silent? These are just a few of the questions addressed in the book. As I mentioned before, God’s idea of fairness is different than ours. To us, it likely doesn’t seem fair that a man whose wife developed breast cancer, which eventually spread to her lungs, was the victim of a brutal drunk-driving accident. But that’s exactly what happened. ­

The man’s wife and young daughter were also in the car, but he was the one who sustained the most serious injuries, one of which resulted in severe head trauma. He survived, but his focus, vision, and everyday tasks such as walking, eating, and reading were profoundly affected. He had been the primary caregiver to his ailing wife. Now it was he who needed special care.

Instead of screaming, “Life’s not fair,” this gentleman considered a unique perspective regarding his situation. “I learned, first through my wife’s illness and then especially through the accident, not to confuse God with life,” he said. “I believe God feels the same way about that accident – grieved and angry. I don’t blame him for what happened.” Grieved and angry. Notice this man did not diminish the gravity of his situation or say something like, “Well, everything happens for a reason.” No, he was angry. He was disappointed with what happened. He just refused to blame God – or mention anything about fairness.

Reading the Book of Job, one can’t help but acknowledge (hopefully) that God can be trusted in spite of the perceived unfairness of life. Certainly Job’s situation was extreme, but don’t we see parallels today? A brief visit to the Caring Bridge website tells us all we need to know about fairness.

Perhaps the most telling part of Job’s story is this: God does not offer an explanation to the problem of pain. If God Himself does not attempt to explain why “bad things happen to good people,” why should we? The parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20:1-16) takes the concept of fairness and turns it on its head. And doesn’t Jesus extend the metaphor when he claims, “The last will be first, and the first will be last?”

Like you, I wish I had an answer to life’s injustices. But we won’t know until we are in the presence of the Lord. Until then, keep exercising those faith muscles. We need them now more than ever!

In His Name,

-Matt

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