Life Is So Unfair!
Life Is So Unfair!
Posted by: Kim Stiver
Sermon Text: Acts 23:11-26:32
"Life is so unfair!" How many times have we all uttered these words or at least thought some variation of them in our minds? No matter our age, life stage, circumstances, or level of success, there is no one who can spend his life avoiding unfair situations, undeserved punishment, and self-serving decisions by others. When we read passages in scripture about God’s people enduring horrific unfairness, such as Paul’s trial process in Caesarea, they sometimes stir up surprising and strong feelings we aren’t prepared for and would rather not think about. For example, some of us may wonder if God would call us to endure similar levels of unfairness for the sake of the gospel. And that can leave us fearful and hesitant to obey Him. Others might have the opposite reaction, and dismiss the stories in the Bible as extreme instances and not really necessary, or even possible, for modern Christians. After all, who knows anyone like Paul, Hosea, Job, or Jeremiah, a.k.a. the “Weeping Prophet”? We may think, “surely God isn’t calling us to live a life like theirs anymore. Those were dramatic, even supernatural, trials that God used to prove a point early on, right?”
No matter how we view the stories of extreme unfairness in the Bible or the reactions they spark in us, God has made one thing abundantly clear. Our reaction to any situation of unfairness — whether it’s in our own lives or in Biblical stories — should be universally the same. It should be 100% trust. No compromises. No worrying. No lingering fears. And definitely no whining. If we claim to trust Him but continue to allow ourselves to wallow in any of those things, especially the worrying or complaining, then we are just fooling ourselves. God sees right through to the heart and knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that if our lips say we trust Him, but inwardly we are hemming and hawing about it in some way, then we are more concerned about ourselves and have not made the decision to completely surrender our perceived control over to Him.
As Paul calmly and resolutely stood there — unfairly accused and betrayed on so many levels — before King Agrippa, he didn’t whine about his situation or even rat out sneaky Festus. In fact, his defense speech was far less about personal justice or vindication for himself, but rather an impassioned plea for Agrippa to see the light of the gospel of Christ. And the 26th chapter of Acts culminates in this telling exchange between them in verses 28-29. “Agrippa interrupted him. 'Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?' Paul replied, 'Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.’”
Paul wasn’t brainwashed as Festus implied in verse 24. As he stood before Agrippa, his sharp mind knew exactly what was going on behind the scenes and how unfair it was. The key here is that it was Paul’s heart for the Lord that was taking the lead, not the seemingly rational ways of human reason, analysis, or self-preservation. Paul’s love for God and his unflappable trust in His sovereignty over his life, no matter how unfair the circumstances were, enabled him to react with courage, peace, and grace instead of grumbling, fear, or doubt. In Paul’s example, and in the many others in the Bible who endured countless undeserved trials, we too, can find the same strength to face our own frustrating and hurtful situations, turning them from life-choking obstacles into life-giving opportunities for Jesus.
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Tuesday: 2 Timothy 1:7
Wednesday: Romans 8:31-37
Thursday: Colossians 1:9-12
Friday: Deuteronomy 31:8
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