Life doesn’t always work the way we want it to. We can make as many plans as we want, but we can’t know the future. We can’t control our lives, as much as we try to. And when those moments come that blow all our carefully laid plans apart, we have a choice. We can either give up or manage the broken pieces as best we can, trusting that God will put them back together again better than they were before.
But it’s hard. It’s really hard. Because we get our selfish little hearts set on things that we want, and we are totally capable of convincing ourselves that God has told us we can have something. And maybe He has. But it has to be on His terms. And the plain truth is that when God says yes to our wants or our desires, we’re rarely in the place in our lives when it’s time for us to have them.
We have to live some more. We have to learn what the desire of our heart really is. Many times it changes and grows as we get older, and even when stays the same, as we age, it gets bigger, broader, as we understand more about ourselves and the world.
But that answer is difficult to accept when we want our way. And it’s so easy to sit back and focus on how unfair life is.
Because it is.
Life is unfair. Work is unfair. Ministry is unfair. Because the world is unfair.
And I don’t know where we (Christians, that is) get the idea that life on earth will be fair when nothing here is fair. The world is broken. We broke it, and it’s not going to be fixed again until after Christ comes back for us.
There’s nowhere in Scripture that says life is fair. There’s nowhere in Scripture where God promises that we won’t have trouble. In fact, the Bible says the exact opposite.
Today’s verse is John 16:33.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
This is Jesus talking to the Disciples. Maybe you read that differently, but to me that sounds like a confirmation that sometimes life is going to suck.
This world isn’t our home. We don’t belong here. I think it’s in Hebrews where the writer calls us pilgrims and strangers, aliens in a world we’re just visiting. We’re just passing through.
So why are we surprised when things don’t go our way? Is it the well-meaning teachers of the prosperity gospel? I’ve heard what they say. Those people claim that if you do what God says is right, you’ll have everything you want. Never mind the Bible never says that.
The Bible does say that if you obey God, you’ll be blessed. But being blessed has very little to do with getting what you want. So many times we don’t even know what we want or what we want is bad for us. So how would God be good if He allowed us to have something that would ultimately hurt us?
How many times has God provided what I needed? How many times has He showed up in my life at the pivotal moment? How many times has God let me down? I mean really let me down? I can’t think of once. I can’t think of one promise He’s made me that He hasn’t kept–to the letter.
And how do I repay Him? By whining when I don’t get my way? By grumbling when life isn’t fair? Hasn’t He proved Himself to me by now?
It’s hard to see the big picture. It’s hard to fall back on God when we’re so disappointed. It’s hard to keep trusting when you feel betrayed or let down or like God didn’t hold up His end of the bargain. But when you feel that way, ask yourself if you really understood the bargain to begin with.
God never promised we wouldn’t have trouble, and He never promised that He’d give us whatever we wanted. He just promised that we’d never go without what we need, and we’d never face the struggles of life alone.
We’re going to have trouble. And we’re not always going to get our way. But God always knows what He’s doing. God always keeps His promises.
So just hold on. The world isn’t fair, but Jesus has overcome the world. That means He’s bigger than any trouble you’re facing right now. And if you can just hold on long enough, He’ll prove it to you.