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I want God to be fair.
Don't you? Is it fair that a young mother is stolen from her family? One moment, she was a vibrant mother herding two rambunctious children through the mall...the next, she was collapsed on the cool tiles. The aneurism burst, and nothing we did could snatch her back from death. Senseless deaths, rampant brutality - I saw plenty as an ER nurse, and the pain of it all haunts me.
I look at the social injustice in this world, and I want everyone to have the chance to grow up in the working middle class. Comfortable, but not spoiled. I don't want poverty so deep that people eat garbage and sell their children just to survive. I don't want people so rich that they fly in private jets to get snack food. Just...no. The schism is so deeply unfair, and I want it to matter to God. Generations of deep poverty and obscene wealth keeps cycling on, and the injustice makes my jaw hurt. God is not fair, and life isn't either.
I want Him to be fair. I want Him to make sure that no child is born into suffering or poverty. I want Him to strike down those who do bad things. I want deadly viruses and bacteria, gone. I want liars to be caught in their own sticky web of lies, I want the greedy made to be generous, and I want the proud to fall flat on their faces. Sometimes it happens, but plenty of times it seems like there are no consequences. I feel like a 5-year-old tugging on His sleeve, tattling and whining about how the other kids are getting away with it, and Don't You care? It. Isn't. Fair.
The question pulses through my days like a tension headache, pounding my temples relentlessly: Can I trust a God who is not fair?
He isn't fair. He isn't. I feel betrayed when I look at the state of this world and everything I've believed about Him until I realize with the force of a sledgehammer that God never said He was fair.
God is not fair, nor does He try to be.
Perennially faithful and righteous. He is all seeing, all knowing, and filled with both grace and truth. He misses nothing. No one is getting away with anything. Somehow, I've tangled all that goodness and righteousness up into a god of my own imagination. One who claims to be fair, but isn't. I feel ashamed of my own faulty assumption, and then move on to the looming question: can a God who is not fair, also be good? Isn't fairness kind of the same thing as goodness and rightness?
Actually, no. Fair means everyone gets treated the same. The same circumstances, the same life, the same everything. But there is no choice in that. No free will. No self-determination. No chance for change, ever. It actually sounds pretty awful, now that I think about it. It is a terrible beauty that allows us the choice to live as we want. If I was God, I wouldn't have the guts.
It occurs to me in my short experience as a mother, that the same discipline works differently on each of my children. They respond differently based on personality and maturity level. One needs time outs, another needs to be cuddled and talked to, and the youngest needs to be distracted. Treating them the same doesn't work, and it doesn't respect their individuality. We don't all need the same thing. It wouldn't even be good for us.
I can process the truth of all this, but my feelings are still hurt. I'm deeply disappointed that He allows all this suffering. Where is the good? I need to know with my senses and my heart - not just my mind- that He is good. I know it in my head, but there are days when it I don't feel it. When the suffering overwhelms, I just want Him to come down off His throne and weep with me a while. I am stricken by a world that is writhing in pain, and I want to feel that He catches every tear that falls from every face, and not just mine. I want a God that sees and hears and feels deeply, and I am forced to analyze my own belief in light of current events. Is He a good Father, even when the worst happens? Or is He distant and detached?
The truth is, He bends down to the smallest child who weeps and saves their tears, every one, as a treasure. I believe that the God who became man and the Perfection who took on our sin as His own enters into every life who will have Him, and walks the length of it. Jesus is not impassive and uncaring, as I feared. He is Immanuel: literally, God with us. Through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
He isn't fair. But He is good. Sometimes, I can't even handle how good He is. Because if I'm honest, I don't really want God to be fair. I want Him to do things my way.
I don't want Him to extend grace to the likes of serial killers and rapists. But the truth is, He is love to the oppressor and the oppressed, the victim and the perpetrator. He is grace and truth, and we must accept the all-encompassing nature of His astounding capacity to love everyone, or walk away from understanding Him at all. And yet, at the same time, the desire for justice was not born first in my heart or yours. It was born in His. There will come an awful day, when justice will be served to all the unrepentant. Until then, it is His kindness that woos us to repentance. It is mercy, not indifference, that stays His hand of judgment.
Only God does. Ours is a good God. We can trust Him to do the right thing, and we must do the same. Looking around at this terribly twisted, unfair world should knock us to our knees in horror. We should fight for the underdog, and comfort those who mourn, and feed those who are hungry, and YES, be the hands and feet of Jesus until He comes again. It matters to us because it matters to Him, and it breaks our heart because it first broke His.
No, God is NOT fair. He is good.
May we, as His children, be the same.
Saved by grace alone, Kelly Canfield is a stay at home wife, homeschooling mom, and recovering perfectionist. She is a passionate Jesus-lover, married to her best friend and hero, Joe. Together they are raising 3 lively children (ages 5, 2, and almost 1). She enjoys strong coffee, great books, and quiet time (a rare commodity.) At nap time you can find her over at www.searchingformyeden.com, where she blogs about the trials and triumphs of marriage, motherhood, and following Jesus. Her first eBook,Tired: Living Fully Engaged Through The Weary Season is coming out soon.