Who Would You Choose?Series: The Gospel of Mark
When Life Isn’t Fair…
“Life’s not fair.” I remember my parents saying that growing up. Life is filled with disappointments and hardships. We often repeat that phrase to our children, sometimes jokingly, but also seriously because we are trying to prepare them for the inevitable disappointments in life. We might even quietly think or feel God’s not fair. We wouldn’t want to say that out loud, but the truth is that most people, at some point in life, feel that way. We feel we have the just or fair solution to a problem and when it doesn’t happen, we feel as though God has failed us. We know God is just and fair, right? Or at least that’s what we’ve been told our whole lives. So, why didn’t He ______? We thought things were going _______ and they ended up _______. You can fill in the blanks with your own experiences.
I was thinking about this the other day. I have thought about it a lot in the last couple years after my dad’s passing, and it comes up again whenever someone I know or love is going through a “not fair” moment in life. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I wanted to share a thought that has helped me. We tend to view life as a finite existence—we have a birth date and a death date. Everything in between those dates is our “life.” We judge our experiences in between those birth and death dates by a set of standards—our standards—of fairness and equity. If we avoid _____ and experience ______, then we’ve had a good life. If we have too many difficult experiences and disappointments—especially when not brought on by anything of our own doing—then we consider our life to have encountered unfairness and injustice. “Life’s not fair” we say. And, we might even whisper quietly to ourselves, “God’s not fair.”
Except, that’s not the way God views “life.” Our lives were always created to be eternal. From the beginning, in the Garden of Eden God placed the Tree of Life, to be eaten from and enjoyed forever. There was a beginning, but no end. Then sin changed the Garden. Except, the eternality of life didn’t change. Yes, we die, but only partially. Life is still eternal, and our “life” here is only one part of the eternal whole. It isn’t exactly accurate to depict “life” as being fair or unfair based on one part of an eternal whole. The reality is that our lives will continue after this existence and—in Christ—we will eventually experience true life again, the way it was always intended to be. A wholistic view of life, not just one part of it between a birth and a death, helps me deal better with the unfair parts of this current existence. In Christ, those unfair things will eventually be reconciled and done away with. We will eventually experience fairness and justice; it may just take a little bit longer than we want. By the way, in John’s vision at the end of Revelation of eternity, you know what shows up again? The Tree of Life.