In a city like Washington, D.C., I’ve seen my share of good things happen to bad people. People getting ahead by lying, cheating and clawing their way to the top. Enough instances that make me want to declare that life isn’t fair. But lately, I’ve been seeing way too many examples of bad things happening to good people. Things that make me want to shout at the top of my lungs that life is, indeed, not fair. I usually adhere to the belief that everything happens for a reason. That what goes around comes around. That God has a plan. Karma. But, for the life of me, I cannot understand how there could possibly be a reason for such bad things to happen to good people. Great people. Innocent people. Seemingly healthy people.
So I turned to the bible to see what words of wisdom I could find. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Okay, that helps a little. I can’t lean on my own understanding because I have no understanding here. How about Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s schemes”. Ok. Put on the full armor of God. How do I do that? What if these good people took a stand against the devil’s schemes and lost? I’ve quoted the book of James a few times in my blog posts, but these things hardly seem to qualify to fall under the category of “consider it pure joy….whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” These people have faith. And they have perseverance. But there is no joy in the trials they are facing that I can see.
Then I found this quote: Accepting that life is insane, that bad things happen to good people and that you can find the courage to be grateful for the good in every situation and still move forward is hard (even terrifying), but heroic.” (Richie Norton, author and CEO of Global Consulting Circle). Given the current situations, I would agree that life is insane. I would also stand by my observation that life is not fair. I can worry. I can whine. I can wallow in the suckiness. I can try to fathom why some people get sick when they take really good care of themselves. None of that will help in the least. But I don’t see how to “be grateful for the good” in these situations. They all lead back to the question of why? I wrote an entire piece entitled “Why Ask Why?” and still don’t have any answers. Why? Because we have the need to try to understand. To try to make sense of things. But often we simply cannot. Why do we care? And why do we try to make sense out of things? Often the answer is simply this: we care because we love.
It’s difficult, no, it’s torturous, to watch the people we love suffer. In any way, shape or form. We wish we had the power to fix things for them, but we don’t. We wish we could explain to them why, but we can’t. We can scream at the top of our lungs that it’s not fair, but will anyone hear? If they do hear, will they listen and help change it? We can raise our fist and look upward and ask how a peaceful, loving God could allow such things to happen. That’s the big mystery. How and why.
But I have heard of and seen first-hand the power of prayer. Miraculous stories of healing and change brought about by faith and prayer. And I would rather love and feel the pain than not love at all. So the verse I’m going to stick with is this: 1 Corinthians 13:7-9 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”
“The world isn’t fair, Calvin.”
“I know Dad, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?”—Calvin and Hobbes