As much as we'd like it to be otherwise, life is not fair. Some people with mediocre ethics get the hot spouse, healthy kids, their career takes off, and they're naturally charismatic, which brings them tons of friends.
Then there is my friend who chose to live out of her car so that she could better minister to the many young women she discipled, and then got a chronic pain disease. Not just any pain disease, but a disease called the "suicide disease" because the pain is so bad, most people commit suicide from it.
Definitely doesn't sound fair to me.
We're very much into things being fair as modern Americans. Equality has become perhaps the most important ethic in our modern paradigm. We all deserve equal rights. You can't take my individual rights away!
And I think fairness is definitely good to strive for when it's us whose giving it.
But here's the tension: it seems that God doesn't seem to prize that ethic nearly much as we do (at least in matters of pleasures and success.) People die young. The bad person gets the job. Innocent love is taken advantage of. All of us are either benefactors or victims of a world that is not fair.
If God is in charge of all this, and we hold fairness in such paramount importance, it kind of makes us think God isn't good at all.
But if we lift fairness up as the ultimate ethic, and judge God by it I think we miss out on something far richer.
Think about Joni Erickson Tada. You know, that Christian lady who dove into shallow water or something when she was young and was paralyzed. Not fair. But she decided to use her platform as a paraplegic for good. Motivational speaking and books and stuff. And it's part of a beautiful story people write about in books.
But it doesn't have to be a story with an heroic outcome. It can be a very sad story and still be beautiful. Think of your favorite movies. It usually starts off by a good person who is broken in some way. There is a change that needs to happen inside of them for them to be more whole. And they go through some really difficult, unfair things to get there. But in the end, it has changed them. Even if they are alone in their low income, one room apartment at the end, if they have learned the value of love, or have simply survived a horrendous battle, and come out the other side a more humble, whole, loving person, we love them, and love their story. And we cherish that movie. That's what we like to see in movies, instead of someone who easily gets exactly what they think they deserve.
I know not all stories end up with a better human on the other side. But remember we don't yet get to see the credits. And it's not just about us. This is a very long story involving the whole world of people, and our story spans generations before and after us. And the risk of it not working out is also what makes a good story. There is a threat of humungous loss in the balance.
The best stories are the ones with the most at stake. And I'd like to be part of those.
And pleasure here in this world is nice but the story, and the transformation of who we are is what we believe carries over into the next life and stays with us forever. I'd rather go through very difficult things because life is richer, I will grow my eternal spirit, and the story the angels will tell about us some day will be greater.
And that never could have happened if life was fair.