“It’s not fair!”
Do you remember saying those words as a kid? I do – or at least I remember thinking them. Like when my mom came home after meeting some new friends and told me that I was old enough to start doing my own laundry. Apparently, her new friends’ kids did their own laundry. 🙂 Now, as a mom myself, I fully agree with her. But at the time, I thought it was crazy! I had a healthy respect for my mom and knew better than to say, “It’s not fair!”, but I certainly felt it!
But what about times when you experience true injustice?
The first time I truly came face to face with injustice was while walking the streets of Bangkok. I saw precious children, drugged and sitting with their (supposed) mothers, as well as people with leprosy, begging for money. I saw beautiful young girls trapped in the dark and cruel world of human trafficking. And I learned, according to our missionary friend, that rich pimps manage them all. All these precious human beings with eternal souls – being used for profit by men who get rich off of other people’s suffering.
I remember an encounter with a beggar and her children, two of whom looked to be the same ages as my own beloved babes. As I walked away, it was everything I could do to suppress the wail of sorrow rising up inside me. Tears streamed down my face as I tried desperately to make sense of this injustice. It just didn’t fit within my comfortable American worldview.
Last week, I once again encountered an infuriating perversion of justice. We have a dear friend who has been falsely accused of a crime. After 16 months in jail awaiting trial, he was finally brought to court. A series of unjust events commenced, which made our justice system look like a big game. In the end, he was pressured into taking a plea deal. It enabled him to maintain his “innocent” plea, but protected him from the longer sentence he would receive if he were wrongfully convicted.
How can this be happening? I wondered. This is America – with liberty and justice for all!
No, not for all. Not always. Not when the ungodly have more money or more power. I felt so helpless. I wanted to fix things, to set things aright, to do something to help bring back the justice we Americans, we humans, crave.
As only God can orchestrate, one of my John Piper devotions for the week spoke to this issue. He said, “One reason this doctrine (of God’s sovereignty) is so precious to believers is that we know that God’s great desire is to show mercy and kindness to those who trust Him (Eph 2:7, Ps 37:3-7, Prov 29:25). God’s sovereignty means that this design for us cannot be frustrated.”*
I don’t remember ever questioning God’s sovereignty. Of course He’s in control. Of course He’s in charge. He’s God after all. But His goodness, now that’s a different story. I have questioned that many a time. If He’s sovereign, then He could stop the injustice. So…why isn’t He?
One of Satan’s greatest strategies is persuading us to focus on one truth to the exclusion of the balancing truth.
For example, there is a “God is holy!” group who focus so much attention on God’s holiness, that they forget our holy God took the initiative, in love, to redeem those who violated His holy standards. (That’s all of us, by the way.) And then there’s the “God is love!” group that gloss over sin in the name of “love,” forgetting that God defines love, and not vice versa. God’s love and God’s holiness are two sides of the same coin. You cannot understand one without the other. He is both the Just and the Justifier (Rom 3:26) of those who come to Him in faith.
I believe it’s the same with this issue of justice and sovereignty. Yes, God is sovereign and can stop bad things – injustice – from taking place. Sometimes He does. But He has given us humans a free will. People will hurt one another. Natural disasters will occur. Sickness and death will ravage the body. It’s all a part of living in a sin-cursed world. But He will not allow humanity – or Satan – to have the final say.
He will bring good out of evil, because He loves us and He is good. No one, no thing, can stand in the way of His loving us (Rom 8:38-39).
And ultimately, He will set things right one day soon. One day, there will be no more injustice. No more lying. No more abuse. No more cruelty. No more tears. Because Jesus is coming back to reign as our eternal Prince of Peace ( Isa 9:7, Rev 21:3-8).
Amen, come quickly Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20b).
How has God helped you walk through injustice?
*”Solid Joy” devotional app, John Piper, March 11.