I remember growing up and constantly thinking that things weren't fair between my brother and I. He would get something that I hadn't and I would go running to my dad, "But that's not fair!" And my dad would calmly turn to me and reply, "Life's not fair." And he was right, life isn't fair.
It isn't fair that good people, genuinely good-to-the-bone people, get cancer and die before they are old. It isn't fair that the people who step on others to get to the top strike it rich. It isn't fair that innocent children are left on the side of the street because they are unwanted. It isn't fair that careless people seem to have it all. It is completely unfair that good people cannot get pregnant but that millions of babies are
This life isn't fair.
I could go on and on with one million other reasons why. It just isn't.
Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
The writer of this Psalm saw how unfair life was. And it caused his faith in God to falter. This happens. Often. You see, ""The faith even of strong believers may sometimes be sorely shaken and ready to fail them. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors" (Henry).
The pastor who did our pre-marital counseling was a very good friend. While we were living in Oklahoma, away from family, Jamie took us in as her own family. We spent any holiday we weren't home with them. They were our "Oklahoma family" as I still lovingly refer to them. She even offered to allow me to live there for a short time since my living arrangement at the time was less than ideal. Though I didn't take her up on the offer, I remember her son mentioning how much that meant because she wouldn't have offered that to just anyone. Shortly after we moved back to Pennsylvania, they discovered that Jamie had pancreatic cancer. Within months, she had passed away. It isn't fair. Jamie was a good-to-the-bone person. She served the Lord with fervor and her kindness was infectious.
My faith faltered at this. If only for a brief moment. There are millions, probably billions of people that deserve to die: child molesters, murderers, the list goes one. Yet, good people die of cancer every single day. It isn't fair. Jamie shouldn't have died. Some days, it still doesn't make sense to me. I don't think it is supposed to. But a mutual friend of ours shared something with me: when Jamie was asked if she ever wondered why she got cancer. Her response was, "Why not me?"
Even though she ended up with cancer and passed away, Jamie was blessed beyond belief. As am I. No matter what this life may bring. And the Psalmist pointed to this. Before he even mentioned his faith wavering, he noted what he had learned through the experience: Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart." Goodness does not imply outward prosperity, which is what we tend to get caught up with in this life. Goodness is much more spiritual. We, the pure in heart, are blessed because we have God! The truth is as simple as that!
He alone is our source of joy. He is our wealth. This life is unfair. And to be honest, our life with the Father will be unfair...but in a good way. If we got what was fair, what we deserved, none of us would be given His eternal joy & life abundant. We would all be doomed to eternal destruction, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Thank goodness that the life He gives is unfair.