For that matter is life fair? We all have a built in desire for life to be fair. We wish God Almighty would rearrange things to suit us. But many of us are making our own priorities. Christ understood God wanted to be loved as a good caring Father. This whole “honor-your-Father-in-heaven” thing is a big priority with Him. A quote from William Barclay has blessed some brothers & sisters who felt neglected, “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” There was an Amish boy who was sick with a terminal illness. Many people came to visit him to cheer him up, but instead he blessed them. For years afterward, his visitors remembered how he had touched them.
FAIRNESS. Recently, one of my college instructors reviewed us for a final test (in a sense teaching to the test, which is common today), and then on test day gave us a totally different test! One of my fellow students talked with me at length how he had studied for one test, and then got blindsided with another, making a D+ on the one given. He felt that was very unprofessional & unfair of the teacher. I said we don’t know the reasons, the ins & outs, but I suspect the teacher was doing the best he could, and that he had been foiled for some reason from giving us the original test. Then I added, in the old school days they did not teach to the test. You didn’t know what the questions would be & you had to study everything. It occurred to me that this affair typified the way we act towards God. We have our expectations—sure we know life is a test—but we want easy answers that are easy to solve. And when we don’t get what we want, we fail to see God’s perspective, & like this affair we may never know the whole story. Can we say something to make this student feel better? A D+ is just that. A horrible disease is just that. Social injustice is just that. Discrimination is just that. (I have had my share of it.) At times it is not fun to be a human.
THE PROBLEM WAS ANTICIPATED BY GOD. The first book written of what became the Bible was Job. It seems to me that God anticipated the biggest problem facing mankind…unfair suffering and the goodness of God…and He anticipated it right from the start. It is also a book that many people avoid studying. It is really a real life mystery. Job asks, “Why me? Why does God hate me? What is He trying to teach me?” And we the readers are given the answer in the beginning, because we are shown the scene in heaven with Satan. But in our own lives we only see the human drama, the drama of an unfair test. Our spiritual teacher, God’s Holy Spirit, may or may not reveal the “why” of things.
JOB COMPLAINS, AND ACCUSES GOD OF UNFAIRNESS: “What is man that you make so much of him…that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?” (JOB 7:17-18) The testing never stops. I think many of our tests are so we can show how we react —when other people might cuss, we have an opportunity to turn disaster to glory. Job was on God’s team, and He represented God. You, my brothers & sisters, are on God’s team and represent Him. You are standing in for God, and making Him look good by your good moves. God would mention Job’s good job to the prophet Ezekiel.(A) Military history is full of events where a man in isolation would struggle to meet the test, not realizing the larger picture and how his isolated struggle would make a big difference. A few Australian coastal watchers went through horrendous suffering, yet their acts made significant contributions. One watcher’s reports allowed the U.S. army air force on Guadalcanal to know when Japanese planes were coming, which prevented them from being wiped out. Guadalcanal was a turning pt. in the war. There is no way the watcher could have known ahead of time what his endurance would allow him to accomplish later. When the watchers began, no one knew how the Japanese would advance down the Solomon Islands (which Guadalcanal is part of), or what they would be reporting.
JOB FINALLY SAYS, “I know that my Redeemer lives…And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God…” (B) That is the bottom line. Our redeemer lives. Life is hard to explain. There are many complicated affairs—even understanding our own bodies is really beyond comprehension, even though we try. Not only do we not understand the visible things around us—we find it hard to understand God. But when it is all said and done…we can love our heavenly Father and like Job we can sing, “I know that my Redeemer liveth…” He lives within our hearts!
(A) EZK 14:14,20 (B) JOB 19:25-26