Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When Life Isn't Fair

Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. –Psalm 73:1-3

Let me tell you a story about a brother and sister I once knew. To protect their identities, I will refer to them as Jenny and Don. Jenny, the younger of the two, was a parent’s dream. As a young girl, she was bright, respectful, never got into trouble, and she was a straight A student. In high school she excelled in sports and school clubs and activities. After graduating from a major university, she went on to a successful career. She married, had children, was active in her church, and was loved by all who knew her.

Her brother Don, who was a few years older, was opposite his sister in every way. By the time Don was 13, he was smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol, fighting, having run-ins with the law, and teetering on the edge of permanent school expulsion. Don somehow finished high school by the proverbial skin of his teeth. He moved on to fast cars, faster motorcycles, and a carefree life of partying and roaming the country.

A few years ago, I found out through an old friend that Jenny had died after a prolonged battle with a rare form of cancer. At last report, Don was still living hard, drinking harder, smoking a pack or two a day, pursuing his risky lifestyle, and by all outward appearances thriving. I sat down and wearily tried to absorb the unfairness of it all. Jenny had done everything right, including seeking God and living an honorable life. Don, on the other hand, had to the best of my knowledge, never darkened the door of a church, and continued with his reckless ways. At that moment, I understood the frustration of the psalmist who said his feet almost slipped from the true path because against his own will, he envied the prosperity of the wicked.

The practical realist in me looks at Jenny and Don’s lives and declares, life isn’t fair; do not expect it to be. Yet, my heart says, I want life to be fair, and when it isn’t, I get my feelings hurt, big time. Can you relate to this? I shared with my wife, Andrea, the disparity of Jenny and Don’s lives and how I was struggling with it. And my dear wife, in her wonderfully positive, yet brutally pragmatic way said, “Jenny was ready to meet God. Maybe God in His mercy is giving Don more time to change his ways and his heart so he will be ready when his time comes.” I thanked her, because this is inspired truth. And as a follower of Christ, who believes God has a divine plan for everything, I must trust that He knows what He is doing.

Like the psalmist, I too felt better and my faith strengthened when I went into the sanctuary of God, sought Him, and found peace (v 17). Like the psalmist, I declared, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works (v 28).” When life seems unfair, as it often is, seek God and continue trusting Him in faith.

Have you struggled with the unfairness of life? Have life’s trials and difficulties brought you down? I welcome an opportunity to pray for you today. Feel free to share your thoughts about today’s blog post. Please know that God cares, has a plan, and faith in God is a wonderful resource in troubled times.

God bless you today.

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