Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life is not fair

Some nights it’s easy to write. Other nights it takes lots of effort. I’ll let you guess which it is tonight.

Sooner or later I felt I had to tackle the “fairness” issue. I just didn’t know when.

It was a hard day today and maybe that’s why as I bowed my head at the computer to seek some kind of inspiration, it came.

Tonight’s the night.

The whole “Life is not fair” thing started for me a couple years ago if I remember correctly. It was my turn to teach the lesson for family night and I pretty much came out of the gate with a planned rant about most everything I could think about that just wasn’t fair.

My children just kind of stared at me like that kid on the tricycle in the Disney movie “The Incredibles” when the dad (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) picked up his car in the driveway of his home. (Ok, maybe their mouths weren’t gaping open with popped bubblegum covering their faces…but they were at least a little taken back.)

My kids are notorious sticklers for everything being fair. And if it’s not, I get to hear about it.

Well, I bluntly set the record straight:

Life is not fair.

It wasn’t hard to populate a whole list of examples pertinent to each family member:

1. Elisa loves drama and gives it her all; it’s not fair that she didn’t get the lead in the musical
2. Malorie loves soccer and worked so hard all those years; it’s not fair that she can’t play at the college level because of 10 concussions by age 16.
3. Trevor loves basketball and is so good at it; it’s not fair that he was born to short parents

…and the list went on and on including some silly things obviously exaggerated for effect. There were sobering things on the list too. (And if we were having that lesson today, Talitha’s cancer would be on the list.)

But after all that long list, I explained that there was something even more unfair than everything we’d listed. In fact, something happened nearly two thousand years ago that was vastly more unfair than anything that has happened before or since.

Someone who never did anything wrong…who never broke the law…who never even had a bad thought was punished and suffered for everyone else’s sins, errors, misdeeds, crimes, sicknesses, and pain.

The prophet Isaiah said of Christ:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:3-7)

Christ endured unfairness that can’t even be described. The suffering in Gethsemane where He bled from every pore; the mocking and emotional abuse of the illegal trials and sentencing; the spitting; the whipping nearly to death; the long walk to Calvary; the cruel cross…how did God put up with it? Every molecule of the Universe must have been appalled and ashamed.

But it is precisely this unfathomable unfairness that paid the demands of Justice and allowed Mercy onto the battle field of life where Christ rescues us and heals us…

…and indeed makes our situation MORE THAN FAIR.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

How grateful I am for the GOOD NEWS that life is NOT fair. For if it was, I would be condemned. If life was fair, the demands of justice would exact their awful toll--a price beyond my means to pay.

So I especially try to remember on the rainy days of life--when discouragement and disappointment don’t keep a healthy distance--that life is not fair.

And how grateful I am that it’s not.

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