It is not the first words a child utters (‘Mama’, ‘Dada’ and ‘hi’ most likely have that distinction), but it may be the first complete sentence she forms: “That is not fair!” It is only natural to blurt out that sentiment, since we face perceived injustice seemingly every day. Sometimes we, the deserving, are not rewarded while the undeserving get the praise. Other times we, the offenders, are punished more severely than others who have done worse. There are still other times we, the uninvolved, are treated improperly simply because we are in close proximity to wrong-doers. That is not fair.
I have come to realize that I can handle unfair treatment when I encounter it but have great difficulty when my wife or my child is treated unfairly. Such was the case a few days ago. One of my children has worked very hard to be given a position that that my child greatly desired. Unfortunately, the position was given to a less deserving and less experienced person – and we all agreed that this was not fair. My wife and I have discussed what our next step ought to be: going to the decision makers and demanding reconsideration, telling this child to quit or trusting God to make lemonade out of these lemons.
Liz Story has a song titled Blessings which contains this closing refrain:
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
Is it possible that what is unfair is also what God can use to draw us closer to Him? Please don’t misconstrue what I am saying – life IS unfair. Quoting Romans 8:28 to my distraught child is not good parenting and saying that we should look on the bright side brings no comfort. This world is not going to be fair. It will rain (even torrentially) on our parade. We will cry (too often) even when it is our party. We will be kept up at night (with anger, doubt and/or frustration) due to injustice.
So today I face a conundrum – do I seek retribution for the unfair treatment of my little one or do I allow a lesson to be learned and a faith to be strengthened through this experience? I wish I know the perfect answer. I wish I could see a few days into the future and discern which course of action is best. Whatever we do, we can be sure that this will not eliminate the greater issue, namely that life is not fair. There is hope, though; no matter what course we choose (this time or the next), God is still on the throne and He will accomplish whatever He deems best in my life and in the life of my (and His) child.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)