"It's Not Fair!"

How many times throughout life have you made the statement "It's not fair!"  I know I have a time or two and would venture boldly to say you have too!  Well, it's just not fair.  I remember once (as a rebellious teenager in school) getting really upset with my English teacher over something she was doing.  First of all, she was a Home economics major, and by her grammar I wondered if she even took English in college.  She was what I would call a "good ole girl".  I am sure she was not a bad person, because if you remember...I said I was a rebellious teenager.  She did play favorites to some of the girls in the room.  Before class began each day, she would dialogue the girls about their relationships, fashions, and where they'd been taken on their dates.  Now this wasn't bad.  However, this would carry on long after the bell rang and class should have started.  Now I must say, I wasn't upset over the fact that class had not began and she was still in conversation with certain girls in the class.  What lit my fuse was that some of us guys would carry on our own conversations from other sections of the classroom.  While engaged in her conversations with the girls (after class should have started) she would pause just long enough to yell at us guys for talking during the class!  As I said, that lit my fuse and one particular day, the firecracker exploded.  I simply got up, said a little something something I would not repeat now, walked across the floor toward the door, walked out of the room, slammed the door as hard as I could, and got in my 1970 Plymouth Duster and went home!  I mean...after all...it wasn't fair, right!  I won't begin to comment on the repercussions that caused in my life for the next couple of days that somehow involved the High School principle and my parents.  But still...it just wasn't fair.

I have reiterated that incident over and over in my head since then (way back in 1973).  And every single time I do a "go-over" in my mind...I cannot find one reason for justifying what I did!  Especially since I began my relationship with God 5 years after that.  But still I know in my heart that the way the guys were treated (day after day) was not fair.

I have learned many times over, since that incident life sometimes is just not fair.  I have also learned that if we react in ways like I did, we simply make ourselves the judge.  I assumed a position that day that I was not qualified to hold...judge and jury.  By taking matters into my own hands I also sealed my own sentence.  (By the way I did graduate that year!)  Sometimes life is not fair.  But there is One who is the judge who makes things right in His time, and by His ways.  Sometimes it is a challenge to trust God in situations that are not fair to us, because we want to correct the situation with human abilities and means.  But trusting God during the challenge frees Him to move in our behalf, in His time, and by His means.  He is for us!

The truth is God's grace is not fair.  It is wonderful.  It is life-changing.  It is incredible!  But it's really not fair.  Based on my life prior to knowing Christ...I didn't deserve His grace, and still don't.  It's so easy for us to judge others and sentence them to our opinion of justice.  It's so easy for us to judge ourselves and pronounce a guilty sentence based on our inability to please God ourselves.  The sooner we understand God's mercy we will understand God's grace.  We don't deserve either...however God chose to deal with our sins and its guilt His way.  No...it's not fair...but it's God's way, and He is the judge.  Thank God...it's not fair!

I Can!

"I Can!".  That's a very short, little sentence.  But it is very powerful.  I can!  I wonder how many people heard something different as they were growing up?  Something like "You can't!".  You may be surprised at the number of people who heard "You can't!" more than they heard "You can!" growing up.  Many people today lack self confidence and self esteem because of those negative words.  However, the good news is that the Book says, "You can!"  (The Book is the Bible or the Scriptures.  I just like to refer to it as The Book because it is the manual for living life.) 

Philippians 4:13 (from The Book) says, "I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me."  Taken in total context this verse is very interesting.  What does it mean?  Let me first explain what it doesn't mean.  It doesn't mean you and I can do anything we want to through Christ who gives us the strength to do it.  For instance, I think it would actually be quite cool if I could fly!  No, not on an airplane (I love that too).  But I think it would be cool if I could just fly.  But God didn't engineer my body (at least in this life) to fly.  Just because Paul said he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him doesn't mean he could lift a car over his head either!  (Yep I know they didn't have cars back then but I'm just saying.)  To understand Philippians 4:13 in context we must look at some previous verses in the same chapter.  In verse 11 Paul says, "...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.Then in verse 12, "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  Paul follows with that famous verse (Philippians 4:13) by saying, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  Paul is saying, "In thick and in thin, Christ gives me the strength to handle it, carry on, and make it through!"  

So often in the hard times we find it easy to say "I can't".  But the truth is...YOU CAN...through Christ.  He didn't come just to take all your problems away.  He also came to be with you in the middle of your struggles, to hold your hand, and perhaps even carry you through your struggles.  The bottom line is...through and in Christ we can face anything!  In Christ we can endure anything!  Through Christ you find the strength to rise above any circumstance even though you are in the midst of them.  We are definitely living in challenging times.  We've all had to make some adjustments and trust God even deeper.  But the bottom line is YOU CAN...even in the circumstances.  You will make it through!  But only as you find your strength in Jesus Christ and in His will for your life.  I'm telling you...YOU CAN!