When Life Seems…Unfair

Life’s not fair, so what are you going to do about?  These are the words I heard as a High School Junior in a math class after we had received our grades from the weekly test.  You see, in this particular class, an Algebra class me and several of my friends worked crazy hard to do well, math wasn’t something that came easy to me.  But that wasn’t the deal, we had a student in the class that bragged about cheating and since the teacher graded on a curve, it left us with pitiful grades.  He would routinely receive 98 and 99 % and the rest of us struggled to get C’s.  Then he would go to morning break and gloat.  
That’s not fair!  We complained.  He’s a cheat and getting over on the teacher and we are doing our best and being punished with bad grades.  It’s just not right!  Why are we being penalized for doing good and he is outspoken about the fact he is a cheater, yet he is prospering?  
Word got back to the teacher and he simply thought it was sour grapes because of the curve and he said, “Life’s not fair, so what are you going to do about.  Have you ever experienced moments in life that were so outrageously unfair all you could do is throw your hands up in total frustration?  We all know life seems unfair, but how do we respond?  Do we give up?  Get bitter and negative?  Give in and clammer up, fight and do whatever to even the odds?  Cheat ourselves?
A bit of background of Habakkuk chapter 1.  He is a prophet, he grew up when King Josiah was King, remember him?  He took power at age nine, and brought about many reforms to bring the nation back to God.  Habakkuk saw what it was like to live in a time when God was honored and when justice was fair.  For all the good of King Josiah, he didn’t pass on much godliness to his kids and the nation was corrupted.  Israel had already been split into the Northern and Southern kingdoms, Judah was in the south, that is where Habakkuk lived.  
Now fast forward to a day when Habakkuk was an old man, perhaps sitting at his desk pouring over his journal reminiscing over the good old days when God was revered.  This day is much different, it is a day filled with wickedness, it is a day that is wholly unfair.  Wickedness goes unpunished and unchecked, while the righteous are punished for doing good.  It seems that the wicked ones are getting one over on God.
Most prophets, called out the people of Israel in terms of how they were breaking the covenant with God.  But Habakkuk, stands out as he is a prophet that looks around and sees so much unchecked sin, then calls on God saying, according to the covenant, you aren’t keeping up your end of the deal.  You said, that if we sin, you will deal with us.  Well, we are sinning and you are silent!  The entire book, centers around two questions that Habakkuk asks of God and why He is letting things take place that don’t seem right, and God’s responses.
It is in these exchanges that we learn a few things.  We see God as sovereign and catch a glimpse of His glory, His wonderful supremacy above all things!  As well as how we can be sustained during times of injustice. When life is unfair you can either become angry, bitter and upset or rely on our infinite God who has the whole world in His hands.  One breeds desperation, the other hope.  Which will you choose?  So let’s dig in and discover 2 biblical principles to live by when life seems unfair.

1 – When life seems unfair, remember, seek Him. 

“How long, O’ Lord have I cried for help”  He is troubled and he turns to the Lord!  We turn to those that we have relationships with when we need a person to call on.  It is possible that the reason God is appearing to abandon you is that there is no relationship.  Here, Habakkuk, is giving God a laundry list of Judah, the land he lived, sins.  The sin of the Southern Kingdom is overwhelming Habakkuk.  He is questioning God as to why He has allowed His holy standards to be tossed aside.  Habakkuk can’t understand the unfairness of this, he is walking with God, yet the people of Judah are not, yet they go on living like normal, even prospering.  
Have you ever been so frustrated or upset, you wondered if you could pray certain things?  Habakkuk teaches us it’s OK to share our emotions with God.  HE knows our thoughts anyway, right?  Habakkuk is venting his frustrations to God in vivid detail.  He is painting this picture of his countrymen that speaks to behavior that is knowingly lying about their sin.  He is saying they are acting as if they are doing nothing wrong, they call evil good and good evil.  
Sounds familiar doesn’t it.  Our culture lifts up sin proudly as a good and wonderful thing and those that oppose sin wicked.  He says they are wicked, reminiscent of what Moses spoke of in Gen 6:11, using this same word right before he destroyed the earth with a flood.  That is how bad things were! The sin of the people is wreaking chaos, it is destroying.  Habakkuk is calling on God, if only you could see the spiritual and ethical havoc that is being done upon your land.  God the sin is so bad, there is nothing to protect your people.
Habakkuk says the sin is so bad, our days are nothing but, see it, at the end of v 3 “strife and contention”.  Life in Judah was constant arguments that would end in the courts where justice was perverted.  See it in 4, “the law is ignored, justice is never upheld”.  Murders and thefts would go unpunished, there was no law for the wicked.  
Have you ever felt like this?  Crying out, God why?  Why me?

2 – When life seems unfair, remember, God is in control.
God answers the prophet, “Look among the nations!  Observe!  Be astonished!  Wonder!  Because I am doing something in your days you would not believe if you were told.”  He told Habakkuk, there is so much more going on here than meets the eye.   I am at work and if I tried to describe it, it would blow your mind.  He tells Habakkuk, I am at work even now, awakening the Chaldeans, see this in v 6?  They are the most fierce, impetuous nation who will march across the land seizing what’s not their own. V 7 says they are dreaded and feared, the mention of their name struck dread into the hearts of their victims.  
God says, Habakkuk, I alone am sovereign, I rule the planet and I can and will use the Chaldeans as my tools to mete out justice.  Everyone on earth fears them, but they do my bidding in my time.  I am God, just because you can’t see it, know I am at work.
God can use anyone or anything.  Through this pagan people, God would shape Judah and mold His people into what He wanted them to be.  Through them, God would work justice and direct history.  It might not be the way you or I would like, it will not be on our timetable, but God is always at work.  We don’t always see it because of the tools he uses seem unlikely.  
You know what I see here?  A picture of a God who runs the Universe, a glorious, awe inspiring God who loves us. 
There is no circumstance of your life that He is unaware.
There is no injustice done to you that He has not taken notice.
There is no unfair treatment of you that has caught Him off guard.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org  and make sure you subscribe to receive these biweekly encouragements in your inbox.

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