You don’t have to live very long to find out that life isn’t fair. Watching the news and seeing others deal with difficult situations show it’s true. Situations in our own lives show it’s true.
Children usually discover this early on in life — when they run to the swing and another child beats them to it or their younger sister grabs the last donut … again. (Not that I’m bitter about that or anything.)
The stakes become much higher as we get older. We discover things about life that will break our hearts. We see poverty in our own backyards, abuse of children and people leaving their loved ones, all without regard to consequences. The thing about consequences is that they don’t just happen to the ones who create the pain, it affects everyone involved and spirals out creating many unintended victims.
Living with hope
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, examined this issue of fairness and he wrote about it in Ecclesiastes 9:11: “I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time” (NLT).
How can anyone make sense of something that clearly doesn’t make sense? Sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we expect. But for believers, we do have hope.
King Solomon, knowing this to be true, didn’t just give up on life, he persevered through hard times. Neither did Job, who lost everything but continued to believe God had his best in mind and thanked Him for what he did have.
Without sadness, can we experience happiness? Without pain, can we witness the power of healing? Each chapter of our lives will contain unfairness but if we learn and grow from it, we will come out stronger.
We aren’t promised a life that’s fair, but we are promised that we have a God who is sovereign and will carry us through this life and into eternity.