It’s not Fair

Have you ever said something wasn’t fair?  I suppose most of us have at some point.  I have!

Living for the Lord comes with highs and lows, good times and bad times and we who take our faith seriously often are challenged by life’s inequities.  We have even developed our own Christian cliché: “Life is not fair, but God is good!”  This quote sounds reasonable and smacks of truth, but when we face circumstances that threaten to harm or even destroy us, we wonder about the validity of such a statement.

That’s why I caution believers not to allow unfair circumstances to become their defining moment.  Serving God may seem a cruel joke if we allow seemingly unfair events to stall our faith.  It could appear that God is not as benevolent as we preach.  Truthfully, I have allowed certain inequities in my life to steal my entitled joy and make me doubt God’s love for me.  In short, I have at times become angry at God for allowing adverse situations to win out over my faith, thus making it look like evil or wrong triumphed.  I had to push through my questions!

Why could I not find gainful employment during the months after college graduation?  It wasn’t fair! Why did I have to leave three of my five pastorates after church leaders rose up with control issues?   Why did other leaders not help me?  It wasn’t fair!   Why did we buy two homes only to lose money because of ministry moves?  It wasn’t fair!  Why were several individuals in five churches allowed to create church division and strife, and manipulate still others to follow them?  It wasn’t fair!  Our credit rating took a serious dip when events out of our control caused us to get behind financially.  It wasn’t fair!

But listen.  I cannot spend my life asking “why.”  I have to move on.  Isolated unfair incidents cannot determine how I serve God.  The inequities of yesterday cannot override my victories today!  I still believe that serving God is the best way to live!  “He has invited us to “call upon Him in the day of trouble; (and further promises) I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me” (Psalm 50:15).

The Bible is replete with examples of those who faced life’s inequities with a deep faith in God and came out on top.  Hebrews 11 is a roll call of those who “having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised because God had provided something better…” (11:39-40).  They understood that fairness had nothing to do with their faith walk!

For purposes of this discussion, let me remind you of two men who loved Jesus with all their hearts, and who had specific assignments on their life.  One was a prophet, the other a newly appointed deacon.  And both of them were martyred for fulfilling their call.  It doesn’t sound fair, does it? 

I’m referring to John the Baptist and Stephen, respectively.  John was Jesus’ first cousin, who spent his ministry making a way for Jesus to outshine himHis assignment was succinct: “A voice is calling, Clear the way of the Lord in the wilderness.  Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). 

What did John get for his obedience and faithfulness?  His head was delivered on a platter at the request of a sex-crazed mother, Herodias, the queen of Galilee.  She conspired to arrange John’s execution, and later Jesus showered John with this accolade:  “Among those born of women there is no one greater than John, yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).  Naturally speaking, there was nothing fair about John’s earthly demise.  But heaven holds a faith hero!

Stephen, too, was a man with a mission.  Dr. Luke describes him this way: “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).  This Spirit-filled man, full of faith, was a recognized leader in the Early Church.  He was one of seven deacons chosen to serve the growing, developing Church.  Lying, Christ-hating religious leaders subsequently stirred the crowd against him. 

God’s precious servant met his death by being stoned after he preached a sermon in defense of his wonderful Jesus.  Large rocks crushed his skull and ushered him into the presence of One who stood to welcome him into his heavenly home.  Was it fair that God’s choicest servant met such a dreadful end?  Naturally speaking, no!   

However, his martyrdom was not in vain.  Stephen’s death propelled devoted followers of Jesus to regions beyond where the gospel was preached.  “And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered…” (Acts 8:1).

Life is NOT fair, but we who love the Lord dare not allow the isolated, unfair, and harsh events of our lives to cause us to view God through the lens of pain and unbelief.  Romans 8:28 becomes our flagship verse: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Fairness is not a Kingdom principle, but we who love Jesus understand that God ultimately brings victory out of what appears to be unfair circumstances.  We are called to trust His righteous ways!  


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