It’s a cruel world, and evidence of that fact is everywhere. Not a day goes by but what we see numerous examples of it. I don’t know why on this particular day I felt impressed to write about this, but as soon as I saw the news headlines I knew I had to vent. In just one small area I saw these headlines: “Boy, 10, Dies in Accidental Shooting”, “Day Care Employee Accused of Hurting 10- month-old”, “Boy, 2, Found Walking Alone in Street”, “Man Accused of Choking Girl To Steal Vehicle”, and “Home-Invasion Victim Remains in ICU”. What a way to start your day! And you could multiply this by a thousand and it still wouldn’t begin to cover all the injustices that take place every hour of every day. It’s a cruel world, and it’s not fair!
For some reason I decided to read the entire story of this last example and I wanted to cry. Actually I wanted to fight! Sorry, but that’s the way I felt. The victim was a 79 year old former Marine who nearly died after a violent home invasion. He was minutes away from dying when his wife found him choking to death on his own blood. He has lost sight in one eye and is still fighting for his life in ICU. His wife said,”They have operated and put metal plates all over his face, all surrounding one eye, above his lip to reconstruct his face because every single bone in his face was broken”.
This dear man served his country as a Marine, defending her to preserve freedom and the American way of life for us, and is shamefully beaten near to death by someone who has enjoyed the benefits of his sacrifice. He is a highly respected member of his community and is known as ” the unofficial mayor of the city of South Houston”. Think about it–here is a good man, in the last years of his life, who should have been able to relax and enjoy what little time he has left, when some punk breaks into his house and nearly kills him. It’s just not fair! Too bad this punk didn’t try this in his hey-day when he was a young tough Marine. The out come would have been much different! He would have got the beating he deserves.
Dear friend, this is a commentary on life. Pleasure seeking, immoral, God hating people prey on those who are weak to get what they want, usually drugs. Again, I say,”It’s not fair”. This is a cruel world and I can’t even come close to understanding or explaining why God allows things like this to happen. Sadly a lot of folks are bitter at life and some even angry with God because of stuff like this. And, how do you explain it? I can’t. However, although I can’t explain it, I am helped by reminding myself that we live in a fallen world and that we are entirely dependent upon God’s grace to get us through it.
By “a fallen world” I mean that it is not what it once was. We have departed from God and have incurred a curse as a result. The world is corrupt, confused and in constant conflict. The world is inhabited by people who have sinned and come short of God’s glory. The scum-bag who perpetrated this crime isn’t the only one guilty. We’re all guilty. It might be true that you and I would never do what he did, but that doesn’t mean we are altogether innocent. We are all sinners and undeserving of anything good. I need to remember that, and so do you. As soon as we start thinking we deserve more, bigger, and better, a life exempt from trials, we get ourselves into trouble. If we got what we deserve we would all be in hell. If the world hated and crucified Christ, the only perfect person who ever lived, what makes us think we deserve a trouble-free life? We don’t.
Now, let me make my point–if we take all things into consideration we can see God’s goodness even in the very worst things in life. No one can deny that God’s goodness has been displayed in some way to every person, even if it is nothing more than sunshine and rain. So if we don’t deserve anything we ought to be thankful for everything. No one is earning their way with God. The good we enjoy is the result of His grace, and the bad we suffer is to be expected. Remember, we live in a “fallen world”. No I can’t explain why God allows bad things to happen, but neither can I understand why He allows good things to come our way. The best I can do is to say that the former is the result of guilt and the latter is the result of grace. Instead of being shocked by the bad maybe it would be better if we were surprised by the good. Indeed it is a mystery why God allows bad things to happen to those we call “good” people, but it’s also a mystery that He gives good things to bad people. It’s a mystery explained only by grace.
None of this is meant to excuse evil in any way whatsoever. It is terrible, awful beyond description, and totally unjustified. Nor do I want you to think of this as a lack of sympathy toward those suffering injustices. I just want to point out that the bad we experience is in no way an evidence that God isn’t good. That’s what usually gets lost in the shuffle. And that’s what leads to our bad attitudes.
Maybe it will help to think of life like this–We live on a battlefield. Really! Planet earth is a war-zone and we’re caught in the middle. There is a world wide conflict and danger is everywhere. When you’re at war you can expect hardships, difficulty, and great danger. No one is shocked by this and everyone is surprised, pleased and thankful when there is a respite and/or a care package from our loved ones back home. That’s a helpful way to think of life. Our enemies are intent on hurting us and they do. But, even as we suffer there are blessing for which we ought to be thankful. That doesn’t take away the pain inflicted on us, but it does encourage us to keep pressing on rather than giving up. It reminds us that although life tough it isn’t all bad. Knowing we have more than we deserve helps us endure the pain that we don’t deserve from others.
Until we get home, where we will be relieved from all heartache, worry and pain, this is the best advice I can give. In this life we will never fully understand these things, but in all this we are made to see our need of God. So,in light of all this, instead of thinking about when we can get out of this, we would do better to think about what we can get out of it. We can’t escape these hardships but we can be educated by them, and the main thing to learn is that we need God. Daily we are dependent upon Deity. He alone can sustain us. None of us are strong enough to bear up under the horrible hardships that are forced on us, but God is able. No, life isn’t fair, but God is faithful. Think about it! –David Stone, 5/21/11