My kids say that all the time… “It’s not fair!” And often I respond with, “Well, life isn’t fair.” I’m sympathetic like that. But it’s not untrue… life isn’t fair. We are not promised fair. We don’t get everything we want (or even half of what we want) and I truly believe it’s important that my kids don’t grow up thinking that they do deserve or get it all, that they are entitled. Not to crush their little spirits, but to teach them that in reality, you have to work for things, you have to put in the effort and earn some things and despite everything you do, that thing you want, it still might not end up being yours. Even in disappointment, they are still loved and while not always fair, life is still good.
Along the way, along the journey of life, you often gain other things you were never expecting – things you never even dreamed of wanting. You have some options with that, you can be happy with what you have – accepting the gifts of the unexpected and being grateful for all you do have or have earned OR you can be bitter and feel like you are lacking and always striving for more. Only one of those ways will ever lead you to contentment. Only one of those ways will ever help you grow and become a better person. And only one of those ways will show you what it means to be truly thankful and feel totally blessed; and it’s not the way that’s always leaving you wanting more.
I started this post by drafting a list of things in my life that aren’t fair and was going to comment on how I could see those things from a different perspective but instead it’s turned into something more (this has happened before). Sometimes I want to have a grown-up “that’s not fair” tantrum but in the midst of that moment (or week or month), I need to remind myself that despite how I feel, God is in control of all of the things. He’s got the tiny details and the mega-big picture all under control. I may want to do missions work but can’t because our life can’t/won’t/doesn’t accommodate that but that doesn’t mean God won’t use me some other way because a mission field doesn’t have to be halfway around the world. I may wish Jack didn’t have to deal with other kids looking at him differently because of his little hand but God has given us such a gift of insight into what it means to be different in big and small ways and He has given Jack a personality that will not be held back or deterred by what others think. And I may be sad about friends who are moving away but I’ve been given the gift of that friendship and my life will be forever changed by the footprints on my heart and by the way God puts people in our lives just when we need them, in the perfect capacity that we need them (plus distance doesn’t remove a friendship, it simply changes the geography).
Bigger things will come, people will get sick, tragedy may/will strike and all the little things might gang up on us and make us want to hide our heads and shout out “IT’S NOT FAIR!” But I pray we might hear God’s voice say, “You’re right, it’s not fair, but that is life and let me show you what I would like to teach you about that. Here’s my plan for you…” Because while we aren’t promised fair, we are promised that we are loved and that God has a plan.