It’s Not Fair

One student makes straight A’s without trying, and another does everything she can to pull a C.

One sister has stair-step babies, and the other can’t conceive in twenty years.

One friend’s parents thoughtfully encourage their children’s strengths. Another set of parents disregards or disapproves.

One lady has a husband and a respected degree by age thirty. Another has neither at sixty.

One girl is wooed by the man of her dreams. Another girl is invisible except to a mental patient.

One friend has money to vacation in Italy while another can’t afford a $20 concert ticket.

One couple celebrates one year of marriage and pronounces the year fun. Another couple fights three kinds of deadly cancer in their first year.

It’s not fair.

You shake your head at the balance scales. You whisper the words to a friend because for some reason you’re not supposed to say them. Or you sob into your pillow until you snort, and the universe keeps on humming, and friends never mention the disparity, and  the scenario keeps on not being fair.

To the one with a grim diagnosis. To the single bridesmaid at the eleventeenth wedding. To the bereaved and wrecked and poor: it’s not fair.

This is reality when the sun shines or when the rain blows. The Almighty and Omnipotent Father sits on His beautiful hands and does nothing to level the balance scales. There is no justice. You can do everything right and be a good girl and do what you were always told to do but there are no guarantees and it’s a fallacy to believe that everything will turn out like it should.

Part of my journey to wholeness includes being honest about the injustices I observe and experience. It seems much more wholesome to be able to call a spade a spade than to act as if it’s something else.

So: it’s not fair.

There are things I weep and howl over, dreams I ache for, friends I hurt with, prayers I beg God with the most persuasive words I can find.  To do otherwise would be to deny reality and be a flippant, chirpy, hollow, obnoxious voice in a cavern of unanswerable questions.

While maturity acknowledges that things aren’t fair, wisdom doesn’t stay there. It’s a child who mopes and sits outside the game and whines that it’s not fair. An adult who does that for days and weeks and months is pretty ugly, in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no easy way to do this, but when that forty-leventh bride has been whisked into the sunset, you sometimes have to take yourself by the scruff of the neck and turn yourself 180 degrees toward the east and make a list of other things that aren’t fair.

This is part of my list:

  • I sleep on a dry, thick, super-comfy Tuft and Needle mattress while refugees sleep on blankets that hang out of their tiny, squished-together tents.
  • I have a job that enabled me to buy a car, while a friend can only afford to drive a borrowed car.
  • I’m lonely and long for companionship but it’s not fair that another woman’s loneliness is infinitely, agonizingly greater after her husband abandoned her and their three little children, the baby with Down Syndrome.
  • I had major surgery in a foreign country and had the best of care and no complications and have been given a new life but my friend battles incurable illness and huge medical costs.

It’s not fair.

I’m stupendously, staggeringly, unreasonably rich and spoiled and comfortable, and it’s not a bit fair. It’s not fair that my friends and the rest of humanity walk through crazy amounts of pain and tears that I never do. I’m not being glib or flippant about this. I cry often about sad things and injustice and longings on my behalf and others’. I experience hard, hard, things about each of my list entries.

But the great and grand and shining reality is that the present injustice is not all there is. It takes the long view to see more than is apparent to the naked eye. The long view is the truest view.

It’s ok to say it’s not fair, but it’s not ok to stay there. Because at some point–after about an hour or a day or a week–wisdom and grace and the presence of Jesus are waiting to turn us to the east and see light and hope and a far green country under a swift sunrise.*

*That last phrase is what Gandalph said.

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Why Pray?

 … I keep thinking about this thing of praying for marriage & children for myself.  I had never thought of doing it before. I have prayed about “if I get married sometime…” but not asking for it. I have a aunt, a lovely lady and never married. Her life has impacted many many people, including mine, in ways she couldn’t have if she had her own family to care for. Do I pray for a husband for her?? God doesn’t plan for all ladies to get married, does He? I am interested in the marriages of my friends! I just wondered about how you said we should pray to get married..?

A girl e-mailed this when she read my last post. I asked her permission to share her question, so now you can look over our shoulders to read part of our correspondence. My answer to her was a little wordier than I intended, but well, that sort of happens sometimes.

–Thanks for writing and bringing up some excellent questions! There are several reasons I suggested praying for marriage for friends and ourselves. I’ll try to explain them here:

  1. For emotional honesty. If we feel lonely and ‘left behind’ there’s no virtue in becoming defiant and try to convince ourselves that we can do life just fine on our own and don’t need a man. God knows how our hearts work better than we do; He already knows how we feel. We may as well be honest with ourselves about it since we’re not letting Him in on anyth
  2. Good things happen to our hearts when we come to God with an open hand.  In coming to Him in honesty, it’s not about getting what we want, but about encountering God, hearing His voice and seeing His face toward us.  THIS is the intimacy we were created for, and this is what changes our lives and GIVES us life. HE is the one our hearts are most hungry for.

Living with an open hand is part of what makes a woman beautiful. She isn’t shaking an angry, clenched fist, nor refusing what God wants to give her.  She’s accepting whatever He chooses to put in or take out of her hand. She reflects Jesus in the garden when He came to His father with honesty of what He really wanted, but still surrendered to His higher will. (Notice that His Father never scolded Him for His honesty. He won’t scold us for it either.)

Does God plan for some women to stay single? Maybe. Maybe not. Our lives absorb the consequences for our own decisions and those of others as well as circumstances outside of our control. The best thing is that God is bigger than whatever consequences we live with, and does amazing, wonderful things with wherever we find ourselves.

My understanding is that marriage is our design, but not the ultimate of life. In addition to my observations and experience, these are some of the writers who have influenced me to come to the conclusion that it’s good to ask God for marriage:

Sharon Yoder, author of To Have and To Hold

The bloggers at fast. pray. Their subtitle is: We’re asking God to move and bring about marriage for those who desire it. We’re praying for God embolden men to be leaders: in churches, homes, and relationships. We are also asking that the Holy Spirit would be working in the hearts of women to soften their hearts and transform them into the image of Christ.

I’d be glad for more feedback if you feel like writing!