When "That's Not Fair" Is the Mantra of Your Soul

It doesn’t take long in this life to learn that things don’t always turn out the way we expect. Kids regularly exclaim, “That’s not fair!” And we who are further along life’s road can only agree.

Why do the difficulties keep coming? Why haven’t I found love? Why isn’t God intervening? Why doesn’t my life line up with my dreams? Why do my plans always come up short of my expectations?

“Why” questions name our discontent, comparing the life we have with the life we want.

Scripture confirms we are not the first to have expectations dashed. After Jesus was crucified, two of His disciples were headed to Emmaus, lamenting the loss of their Lord and their hopes. Cleopus gives the whole account, concluding with this telling phrase:

“But we had hoped he [Jesus] was the one to redeem Israel.”

Can’t you hear their dejection? But we had hoped. These disciples found their hopes buried in the tomb with Jesus. They knew the prophecies of old, that God would send a Redeemer to Israel. In Jesus they found the One who spoke with authority, worked miracles, exuded kindness, and offered forgiveness—then He was crucified. That didn’t line up with what they had hoped.

Our hopes also get buried in tombs of circumstances and situations. We too expected Jesus to arrange for our version of relationships, career, status, health, and accomplishments. When those dreams fizzle out, dejection sets in, and that’s not fair becomes the mantra of our souls.

And it’s true: Life isn’t fair. Sin has broken this world and everyone in it. Things are a mess. Fair is no longer an option.

Grace, however, is still on the table. And grace trumps fair every time.

Grace is what happened when Jesus was crucified, securing the redemption that Jesus’ disciples thought was lost. Grace is what happens when Jesus empowers us to live in the gap between real life and the life we dream about.

Living in the gap isn’t easy. We grieve our perceived lacks and losses for how God isn’t delivering what we dreamed about. But then we choose to fix our eyes on His goodness rather than staring into the tombs of our lack. We refuse to believe God is unfair just because we haven’t gotten our version of life.

Like the disciples, we are caught in the in-between, in the gap, waiting to see God’s glory arise. While we cannot be sure that our dreams will ever materialize, we can be certain that God’s glory will come to outshine even our grandest version of fairness for this life.

What gaps do you find yourself living in today? How can you trust God’s goodness until His glory appears?

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About the Author

Erin Straza

Erin Straza

Erin is a word enthusiast, language lover, and punctuation activist. Her zeal for all things wordy is only trumped by her passion for the unchanging Living Word. Erin longs to see women dive deep into God’s Word so their hearts will be progressively redeemed, restored, and rested by the Lord Jesus Christ. Living in central Illinois with her husband, Mike, Erin helps organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways through writing, editing, and marketing communications consulting.

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