That’s So Not Fair!

That’s so not fair!

Ever said that?

Kids are born hard-wired to spot injustice or situations where the scales of life don’t balance. My children frequently pronounced things SO NOT FAIR!

My stock answer was “Good! Life isn’t fair and it’s my job to teach you how to deal with that!”

That’s a cool parent thing to say but I admit that I’m just as guilty of turning to God and shouting the same thing.

Like when my friend who loved telling others about Jesus died with lightning speed of pancreatic cancer.

Or when another friend with a multitude of problems had to put her beloved dog to sleep – he who was her comfort and friend through chemo and through long, anguished nights.

Or when a godly families’ life is interrupted by cancer treatments. Or when people who cheat, lie, or flaunt God’s laws prosper while others who make Biblical choices struggle to survive.

Life on this side of heaven isn’t fair and people who love God don’t get a free pass through unfair situations. If anything, it often feels as if God volunteers us for injustice more often than people who don’t love Him.

Don’t you just love the mystery of His ways?

Consider the story of Jacob’s romance with Rachel. Jacob would eventually be renamed Israel, father of the twelve tribes, so you’d think he’d have some special treatment on earth but in God’s economy, “special treatment” can be a little rigorous.

Jacob fell in love with Rachel and worked out a deal with her father, Laban, to work for her for seven years. He was so in love it says that the seven years flew by and the time of their wedding arrived quickly.

Rachel had an older sister, Leah, who had “weak eyes.” Since it was the tradition of their culture for the older daughter to marry first, Laban covered Leah with veils and sequestered Rachel away until after the wedding night. Jacob awakened to find he’d been tricked into marrying Leah, not Rachel, the love of his love.

Imagine the agony of that night for both sisters. Rachel exiled to some far tent knowing her sister was participating in the ceremony she’s dreamed of and hearing words from Jacob meant only for her. And Leah! Poor Leah probably silently enduring a night of passion with a man she knew would be horrified at first light to discover her in his bed.

We live in a world ruled by sin and it’s so prevalent that none of us remains untouched. Perhaps Jacob deserved to be tricked having tricked his father into blessing him as firstborn but what did Leah do to suffer so, or Rachel?

Laban gave Rachel to Jacob, too, for another seven years’ work, and so they began a family with sister wives, one loved and one unloved. God knew Leah was unloved so He blessed her with a fertile womb. Rachel was loved, but suffered from an extended period of barrenness.

So much that wasn’t fair but from this mess of poor choices and sad situations, God created the nation of Israel. He’s like one of those amazing chefs on the Food Network who can create a gourmet meal from anchovies, gummy bears, toothpaste, and almond milk.

When I cry out to God that life isn’t fair, He answers me with the phrase He repeats throughout Psalm 37 – “Do not fret . . .” (I have more frets than a guitar store so He must repeat this to me often.)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:8-9

That inheritance feels, now, like it’s a long time coming but when it arrives, all that has gone before will feel like a breath, a heartbeat, a recovered memory that only makes sense through the lens of eternity.

Read Psalm 37. In the face of life’s unjust encounters, Psalm 37 is God’s way of reminding us that “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

When we arrive on His doorstep, none of us who follow Jesus will be complaining that we’ve been short-changed. Every pain, sorrow, teardrop, and heartache will fade like a bad case of chickenpox and we will face eternity unscarred and whole by the power and mercy of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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    The Conversation

  1. Jennifer says:

    Lori, I so needed this after a very sleepless night of worry. Thanks for the early-morning reminder of God’s sovereignty.

  2. I’ll be praying for you today, that God gives you a very practical and close sense of His presence and His peace in your situation, Jen.