Life isn’t fair. We’ve been taught that since we were kids, and the point has been reiterated numerous times throughout our growing years; during sibling fights when brother Billy got something we’d wanted or when we were sure our piece of cake was much, much smaller than the other nine that were doled out to our siblings. As adults, the point was brought home on a daily basis; when someone with 14 items went ahead of us in the “10 items or less” line, when jobs went to someone less qualified, or in the parking lot as we watched the car coming from the opposite direction zoom right in front of us and take the space we’d been patiently waiting for.
As parents, we shrug away our children’s laments that “It isn’t fair.” even as we silently agree with them.
Life isn’t fair.
A sister who is the kindest, gentlest soul and the most loving of mothers, should not have to suffer daily from a rare illness, nor see her children deal with the same disease.
A strong, manly brother-in-law who has avoided all doctors like the plague should not have to be brought to his knees by abdominal pain and end up staying in the hospital for over two weeks with pancreatitis.
A man who fought for his life during a bout with cancer shouldn’t have to fight for his job later.
But there it is; proof that life isn’t fair.
As Christians we comfort ourselves with the platitude that good can come from bad, that there is meaning behind the madness of life.
And occasionally, our eyes are opened in wonder to a great and wonderous plan.
The sister becomes a shining light in the family that watches her deal with her illness with grace and forbearance.
The couple who went through cancer together discovers a revitalized and rewarding relationship unlike any they have ever imagined.
Other times we look askance at a God that would allow bad things to happen.
Why Me? Why now? we wonder.
“Why not you? Why not now?” comes the answer.
Why can’t I have the good job, the lottery win, the money, the fame?
And sometimes we get it, and we greedily lap up the winnings, the money, the fame.
And want more.
“But I want it!” our child wails in the aisle of the grocery store.
We dismissively reply,“I want a million dollars, but I don’t get it.”
Another day their dad surprise them with a candy bar on their pillow, their mom hides a pretty notebook in their sock drawer, or we give them a gift for no other reason than that we love them.
So it is with Our Father, who gives us unexpected gifts in the form of blossoming relationship, a healthy child after a night of illness, or an honor bestowed upon us for our hard work.
Life isn’t fair.
But it is truly wonderful.