Continuing through my journey blogging through The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel.
More than a few times in life, I was certain something would happen that didn’t.
* Getting enough scholarship money to attend Pepperdine University.
* Getting a job at St. Andrew’s.
* Being able to attend Fuller Seminary in Las Vegas.
Hardly tragedies, I know. But these were situations where God didn’t work out what I thought was planned. It just didn’t seem fair.
Most of us will admit: Life isn’t fair. And even further: God isn’t fair.
Job followed God passionately and faithfully, but encountered dreadful circumstances.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus and proclaimed the coming Kingdom. He was beheaded.
The twelve apostles gave up everything to follow Jesus and at least eleven were executed.
Life sometimes works out like this: Sitting in church, a man feels compelled by God to support Haiti financially and writes a check that empties his bank account. As he stops at the nearby 7/11 to pump gas, he is robbed at gunpoint for his final $20.
This happens. Life isn’t fair.
* A friend dies of cancer even after an entire city has been praying for her.
* Your child dies before you do in a tragic car accident.
* Your spouse leaves you unexpectedly despite being a faithful, prayerful Christian.
* You make a move to sacrifice more for God and you find you are struggling more than ever.
Why doesn’t God seem fair? Where is God when life’s not fair?
Groeschel reminds readers of three truths about God:
1. God cares. He hurts when you hurt (Exodus 34:6).
2. He comforts us in our pain (Isaiah 49:13). Talk to anyone who has gone through tragic pain, and they will tell you when they felt closest to God.
3. He is present with us always.
Most of the time, we are aware of only pain. “Fresh pain..consumes us, enshrouding our whole world like a deep fog” (100). But stop and consider: How many times has God saved us when we weren’t aware? How many times has he healed us without us knowing? We just don’t know.
The truth about pain and the fairness of life is a difficult subject to breach. Ultimately, we just don’t know why life isn’t fair sometimes.
Christian Atheists never move forward past this problem because for them, they need to understand everything in order to believe something.
But as Andy Stanley writes, “You don’t have to understand everything to believe in something.”
I don’t know Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church, personally. But the blog world has been watching as this well-known and vibrant pastor lives out Ephesians 1:11 and John 9:3.
They asked Jesus: Why was a man born blind? “Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3).
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…” Ephesians 1:11.
On Thanksgiving, Chandler had a seizure, which was later to be revealed as the cause of a large tumor on his brain.
Since then, every vodcast, every podcast, every tweet and every blog of his has been a testament to his desire to see the glory of God be revealed.
It’s true: Life isn’t fair.
Personally, it is my belief that God may allow pain, but he doesn’t cause. You will need to wrestle with this one. Further, I’ve learned from my Jewish friends about how doubting God and your present situation is nearly unheard of in Jewish belief. God has you right where he wants you. You will need to wrestle with this one as well.
But whether life is fair or isn’t fair, what will your life say about you? When faced with unfair circumstances, will you blame, will you point fingers, will you search endlessly for reason and fail to embrace the situation? Will you lose opportunities to encounter the living, breathing God of the universe? I ask the same questions of myself. What will my life say about me in the face of unfair or fair circumstances?
May you come to see the fullness of God who hurts when you hurt, who wants to comfort you in your pain, and who is present with you always. May you come to know God who, especially in the middle of your pain, is oh, so good.