“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way – never have and never will.” (2 Cor 10:3 The Message)
It had been a long time since I last visited Florida. Everything had changed. Especially the prices to the amusement parks my kids wanted to explore! But what was most shocking to me was that if you paid an additional $35 per person at the amusement parks (and that is ON TOP of the staggering entrance fees!), you can obtain a “fast pass” – a pass which permits you to go right to the front of the lines. While the rest of us had to wait 90 minutes or more at a time, those having fast passes zoomed by, cutting in front of us, making our wait even longer. Interestingly, the faces of those who waited in line became more and more sour with each passing fast past customer!
“It’s unfair!” I heard someone complain (was it coming from my own family?). “They tailor everything for the rich!”
But it seemed that those in the “slow” lines weren’t the only ones complaining. I even heard someone with a fast pass complain: “Can you believe it? I had to wait 5 minutes to get on that ride! When I flashed my pass, they ignored me completely! This is a scandal! I’m going to complain!” She then entered her ride frowning. I wonder if she even enjoyed what she paid for!
It seems completely unfair, doesn’t it? But in all reality, is life fair? I mean, why do some young healthy people die, while others who pollute their lungs with toxic waste live to a ripe old age? Does it make sense? Why are there some people who have more than enough to eat every day, while others die from hunger? How is it possible that my neighbour can afford a Porsche while I can only afford a seasoned “no name” vehicle? Why do some children have the privilege of attending school for free, while others have to pay?
No, life is NOT fair, but our complaining will not change things. In fact, it will turn us into lemon-faced sourdough with vinegar on top. Not too tasty, if you know what I mean!
James, the brother of Jesus has some golden advice to share with us about this: “Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.” (James 5:9)
Instead of complaining about the unfairness of life, let’s rejoice that there is Someone who is always fair! Let’s rejoice that that Someone wants to be our friend! “Let out the message – God Rules! He put the world on a firm foundation; He treats everyone fair and square.” (Ps 96:10 The Message)
The one who accuses the Lord is the one who is unfair and he is a liar. In fact he is the cause of all unfairness in this world: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lie.” (John 8:44 NIV)
May we remember this while we are suffering. Let us throw away our complaining habits and replace them with thankfulness that God saw us as salvageable and sent His son into this world to die for an ungrateful race. But in so doing, He offers blessed eternity to any who believe.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3)
“Excuse-me, where can I get a fast pass?”
“Where are you heading?”
“You don’t need one. Jesus paid the price for your direct access to Paradise!”
(To view the entire “The Problem With Pain” devotional series, please click here.)