Life just isn’t fair.
That’s what I thought today as I sat in a church pew; a pew that is usually reserved for joyful worship, but today was set aside for the comfort of a family as they celebrated the life of a son lost too soon. Songs were sung, prayers were offered, tears were shed, and embraces were given. These things are tough. There are no words that can make it better; no wisdom that can ease the pain. Not really. I say that even though the words offered in Eulogy today were remarkable. Even so, my friend Lois will probably not really feel their encouragement for some time. She will need the strength of her husband, and the shoulders of her friends.
Because life isn’t fair.
A son should not die in his thirties. A five-year old daughter should not die in a school bus accident. An entire family should not be swept away in a terrible storm. All that is true, but it happens anyway. Every day. Day after day. Year after year.
The first time I felt it was when my oldest brother died. I was seven. He was twenty-six. It ripped my mother’s heart out. It robbed me of a lifetime of brotherhood.
I felt it again when my seventy-six year old grandmother died. I had grown so close to her, then she was gone. I felt it with the passing of both of my parents. It’s been eleven years now since Dad passed; eight for Mom. Both of them lived a long time, they had good lives, but somehow it still feels unfair that they are gone.
Life by its very nature is unfair. Every time that we grow close…grow attached…those we love are ripped away. It happens to all of us…and it will happen with all of us.
Even so, we must give life a break.
It really has no choice. We live in a world with limited resources and limited space. Unfortunately, it is the reality of things that everything must pass on in order to make room for those following behind. It is a brutal concept. And after all, how long would it take for us to completely overload our world if all of the sudden there was no more death? If we found ourselves with the magic pill for ultimate health and we ended the process of aging. If we found a way to eliminate all accidents, war, and personal violence; all those things we so desperately hope for,…how long would it take before we could no longer sustain our way of life?
It wouldn’t be long, because even eliminating all those things would only bring on more turmoil and suffering…different, but the same. And that isn’t fair either.
Then, there is the glory of God.
What the physical world is powerless to do, God has the infinite ability to make happen. He is the Great Conqueror over that imminent bully, death…as the minister today called it. God’s resources are beyond measure, and He has the determined will to bring limitless life to all who are willing. He can end aging. He can end disease. He will end all wars. That tree of life will never run out of fruit, no matter how many are picking from its branches.
He injects fairness into what is otherwise completely unfair. He causes hope to spring eternal. He makes the sun to rise after the night of our distress, and the sun to set on the age of pain.
Life may be unfair, but we are not judged by life. We have one who transcends. We have the Alpha…the Omega. He was before life began, and He will be there after physical life has ended to hold forth on the age of limitlessness.
Let us hold on to His hand as we all walk through that valley, the one with the shadows of death, because the one walking with us makes fairness irrelevant.