“It’s not FAIR!” I hear that phrase, or some version of it, no less than 100 times a day. It’s the hiss of a child who doesn’t get to sit in the front seat. It’s the shriek of another who was denied late night privileges. But you know, children are not the only ones susceptible to this dissonant cry. We mature, composed adults often fall into the trap of believing, and sometimes even uttering, “It’s not FAIR!”
- I’m a hard worker. Why did I get passed up for the promotion again?
- I don’t deserve to be treated like that?
- Why did God take my mother so soon?
- I just want a baby.
- Why do they have the nice house and we’re stuck here?
- Why me?
- It’s not FAIR!
Sisters, I want to let you in on a life-changing revelation I had in my life a few years ago. I was “stuck” in a marriage where I believed I was treated unfairly. Because I believed, “it’s not FAIR,” I walked through each day carrying the weight of resentment, bitterness, and ingratitude. Until God gently smacked me in the face with the truth that He put me there for a reason. It was my Esther moment. “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). God placed Esther in the path of genocide for His glory. God placed me directly in the path of an oncoming emotional train wreck for a purpose, a purpose that I missed for about ten years or so. (I guess I’m not a fast learner!)
I am learning that in the middle of the storm I need to be still. The harder I fight my circumstances the less trust I have that God is working in my life. Jehovah God, through scripture, prepares us for the trials and suffering that we will inevitably face.
The Apostle Paul said, “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church” (Col. 1:24). Ah, Paul, could you repeat yourself? Did you say you were GLAD when you suffered? Yep. That’s what he said alright.
He’s not the only one. Peter told persecuted Christians, “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (1 Pet.4:19). Is this the same guy who cut of a guy’s ear for putting his hands on Jesus? Yep. That’s him alright. He just said trust God with your life when you are suffering.
Mark recounted a conversation with Jesus and his apostle in Mark 10: 37-39.
They replied,“When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering…”
Jesus ushered the apostles into His ministry not with promises of wealth or smooth sailing, but with the promise that they would be immersed in suffering.
For the first Christ followers, suffering was all part of the deal. They signed up knowing they would lose family and homes, be thrown in prison, and possibly be tortured to death. The author of Hebrews in ch. 1:32-34 encouraged them with this message:
Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
They accepted it with joy. Not with pouting stubbornness or declarations of “Its not FAIR!” No, they accepted their trials joyfully because their faith assured them that heaven would be worth it. So today when circumstances are inequitable and the odds keep getting stacked against you, don’t fall into the trap. Meet your feelings with strength and resolve to follow Jesus, no matter the cost and no matter the suffering.
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong”
1 Cor. 16:13