Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from the May 1992 edition of the Pilgrim Witness. It was published five months before Brother Myron died of cancer at the age of 34.
Life Is Not Fair
~ the late Myron Martin
When was the last time this pout - stimulating thought stirred your feelings? There are many circumstances in life that the right reply seems to be, “LIFE IS NOT FAIR”. What should be our response to this phrase that seems to fit our experience?
As we compare our lives with others we must all agree that the statement has some validity. There are no two people alike nor are the circumstances they face identical. All of us have different personalities, traits and gifts. Do we ever stop to think what it would be like if all of us were the same? Our lives cannot be exactly the same and yet allow us to enjoy the brilliancy of variety. Besides, this variety can be an enhancement to our own lopsided personality.
Life will not be fair because some of the things we experience in life are the result of the unfair treatment of other individuals. Joseph was not treated fairly for two reasons. In the first place, his brothers were envious and selfish. There is no limit to the mistreatment that might be inflicted on others if a person is governed by his carnal nature. Pharaoh, Herod, Nero, Hitler, Saddam and even abusive parents are outstanding examples of unfairness. We, like them, will treat others unfairly if we give too much attention to our own affairs and fail to be thoughtful of others.
Joseph was also mistreated because of misunderstandings. It is easy to pass judgment and punishments on individuals when we do not know all the truth. Often, it is those closest to us (other church members, our family or our children) of whom we jump to conclusions and judge unfairly. Misunderstandings not only cause a person to be unfair with others, but it can also cause him to believe that everything in life is against him.
Satan will also see to it that life is not fair. His involvements in the life of Job show how much power he has to make life miserable. The Gadarene demoniac, who was under Satan’s control, had his life so altered by the demons that it was not fair for him to be in such bondage while others could live a normal life. There are some individuals that struggle with temptations that Satan never uses on others. He knows that we are not all the same and he custom designs each temptation to our personal weakness.
Life will not be fair because many circumstances are the outcome of natural laws. Sickness is sometimes brought upon one by negligence, but usually it is beyond our control. The Shunammite woman’s son became sick in the field and died. Some people are more prone to sickness and allergies because of the genetics in their body. Others have deformities from birth like the man born blind on John 9. Life is not fair because we live in a body that has strengths and weaknesses that we have no choice in and these are difficult to change in some instances.
We are also affected by natural laws in relation to our surroundings. Drought, floods, winds, and earthquakes are a few of the natural occurrences that can cause one to feel that life is not fair. Even the tower of Siloam that fell down on the eighteen men in Luke 13:4 was a natural occurrence rather than a judgment on evil. Natural laws operate by cause and effect, but who they affect is relative and could make life seem unfair.
Life will never be the same for everybody because God never intended that it should be. God is too creative to make each person over the same pattern and plan. He has uniquely designed each individual for the specially planned place He has for them to fill. How then can we, the clay, say to the Potter, “Why have You made me thus?” We will only find fulfillment in life as we accept God’s plan for our lives rather than try to be like someone else. Even though life is unfair – GOD NEVER IS! Some things we face might be unpleasant, but if we continue to let God work in our lives, we will be able to say with Paul, “The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather for the furtherance of the Gospel” (Php 1:12). Yea, “all things work together for good them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). It is very encouraging to know that God is sovereign and no matter what difficult experiences we are facing, He will manipulate the circumstances for the best benefit of the kingdom. Isn’t that our highest goal in life?
As we live in this life, no matter who we are, there will always be those who surpass us in one area or another. That does not have to make us feel that life is not fair because God enjoys taking our weaknesses and using them to express His strengths. In the account of the man born blind in John 9, Jesus explained the sole purpose of his infirmity was “that the works of God should be made manifest in him” God also told Paul that He would not remove his thorn in the flesh so that God’s strength could be magnified. Would you like to have no weaknesses and never feel God’s enabling grace in your life, or would you rather have some weakness and be encouraged by God’s sustaining grace helping you? It is good we have weaknesses and reverses so we are humble and dependant upon the power of God. This is the only way that God’s power will be able to flow through us to those who are seeking for a power greater than themselves.
God is always fair in that He often allows us to endure injustices in life so He can change them from a curse to a blessing. an example of this is in the life of Joseph. God allowed individuals to bring hardships into his life, yet in the end, God turned them into a blessing for Joseph and his people. Jesus also suffered a humiliating, cruel death by the work of Satan, yet that was the very act that bruised Satan’s head and gave Jesus the exaltation “above all principality, and power. [God] hath put all things under his feet,…hath raised us up together with Christ,… and hath raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:21,22;2:5,6).
God is more than fair to His people because He not only works with the present, but also plans for the future. “The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.” We may have to suffer as Lazarus, yet in the end, God will not forget His people, but will open “the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal 3:10). For everything that we endure, God will reward us in a greater degree than we had to suffer.
God is more than fair with His children because He takes the reverses in life and uses them to perfect us. We do not enjoy the chastening of the Lord any more than children like cod liver oil, yet God brings it into our experience because it is what we need. The Lord “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men” (Lam 3:33). “For all things (distresses, persecutions) are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might … redound to the glory God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2Cor 4:15,16). As we respond properly to God’s chastening in our lives, we will become a vessel that will be recognizable as God’s handiwork.
For God to do His work in our lives there are a number of things we must do. First, we must be one of His children. This includes asking for forgiveness of all our past sins, giving our lives over to Him, and determining to work out His Word in every situation of our lives. This takes an unwavering faith in God and His Word. There will be many times we do not understand the things He allows in our experience, yet we must always conclude that God has everything under control. To strengthen our faith, it is good to look back at experiences where it was evident that God was at work in our lives. There are times of indecision that God gives specific direction through everyday happenings, while at other times His mercy withholds calamities from us that could have easily occurred. We should be alert to these times and use them to praise God for His faithfulness. In turn, it will add to our faith, give us a sense of security and lift us above discouragement.
It is very important that we are totally open before God. There cannot be one area which we are reserving that we do not want Him to touch. There are many things we rightfully enjoy and want to continue to have in life. Even these areas of life, we must be willing to let God alter. May we be as faithful as Abraham was if the test comes for us to give up what we hold dear. We must be looking for the right things. as we view others, what do we see? Do we see all the things they have that are better than ours? It is natural for us to see the greener pastures on the other side of the fence, but it is needful for us to train ourselves to see the difficulties others may be experiencing and ways that we can be of assistance to them. This will help us to realize that we do not have all the troubles and that maybe we have it pretty good after all! Too often when we feel the world is caving in on us, we have had too much attention on ourselves. raising our horizons to see others is the spiritual discipline that can heal our self pity. It is also pertinent to raise our eyes above this life and bathe ourselves in the glories of the eternal. Our experiences in life take on a new perspective as we view them from the broader scope. Seeing God’s greatness and love extended to us gives us the encouragement and stamina to endure these fleeting sorrows, and obtain the joys that are waiting for those that endure unto the end.
Let us not be concerned how fair life is to us. If we are careful to be fair with God, we can be assured that God will be more than fair with us and bless us more than we deserve, in this life and in the life to come.
~ Lebanon PA