It’s true. And you know this. We’ve been saying “That’s not fair” since we were in elementary school. Whether that’s because we were told we have to share our candy with our younger sibling, or that we couldn’t go to the high school party everybody else got to go to. Life’s not always fair.
This is the third of the Five Givens in Life. These come from David Richo’s book Five Things We Cannot Change…And The Happiness We Find By Embracing Them. In it, he talks a lot about life not being fair because we and the people around us don’t always act in a “fair” manner. We hurt one another. It’s true. We do, whether it’s deliberately or unintentionally. He says that happiness is attained by forgiving others and seeking restitution. So true.
But what happens when “life not being fair” is not necessarily due to someone trying to hurt us? What happens when it’s not a person at all, but the seemingly random events of life?
After my husband died, the leadership from the church I was attending asked if they could interview me and tell my story via video to present to the whole church. They were in the middle of a “Stories” series, interviewing all kinds of people who had faced adversity and how God showed up in extraordinary ways to see them through. Although it was not many months after Brian died, and it could prove to be painful to recount, I knew it was something I was supposed to do. After all, I had determined from the beginning that I was not going to let this tragedy be in vain, that it was indeed going to be a redemptive story, and that it was going to be good. And let me say, that belief was totally supernatural, because at the time I had no idea what I was talking about.
I want to share with you the audio from the video they put together. I treasure it so much. If you’d like to watch the video, I’ve put a link to it in the show notes. There’s something that I said in there that was worth the whole of the 5 minutes and 25 seconds of the video. Really, I could’ve said nothing else but this: “The things that I’m experiencing on a daily basis may not look good. They might not look good or even fair. But God is both. He’s both good and fair.” And then listen to why I believe this so wholeheartedly, and why I can say this even after my husband’s tragic death.
Brian was my best friend. We did everything together. He was the one I wanted to be with all the time. We couldn’t wait to have kids. And he was the best dad. He was the soccer coach, took the kids to tournaments, karate tournaments all the time, dance recitals. You name it, he did it. He was the best.
In 2012, Brian began experiencing debilitating back pain. And over the course of five years, he had five major surgeries, as well as all kinds of pain management procedures. None of which gave him any relief whatsoever. And the neurologist finally said that he felt like it was probably permanent nerve damage, and then the next source of protocol would be just pain management for him from that point.
So, it affected his work, his relationships, with me and with the kids. It affected everything. We didn’t go anywhere; we didn’t do anything. Even our regular date nights came to a halt. Everything changed. And Brian literally could not think of anything else or attend to anything else but his pain. I lost my best friend in the midst of the pain. Brian believed that God could heal him - either by medicine or by miracle - and he sought hard after God. And he prayed that God would heal him - we prayed - and there were many nights that we cried ourselves to sleep begging God to heal him. And then August 5th 2017, the pain got too much for Brian, and he took his life.
So, the reality that I was facing at that time was that the love of my life, my husband, my best friend, was gone, and therefore everything that we had hoped or planned or dreamed together for our future was gone in an instant. But that’s where I found the goodness of God, realizing that everything could be stripped away, and He’s asking, “Am I still enough?” And at first, those songs that you sing, “Jesus, You are enough,” I was inside screaming, “No it’s not enough. I need my husband back. I need my life back.”
Psalm 63:3 says, “Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.” And at that time, the Lord was asking me “Tricia, what do you consider life? How would you define life? Is it being comfortable and having the ease of life, no tragedy and no problems? And He said, “My love and intimate relationship is better than anything you could put in that blank. Even and including a life with your husband, growing old in a rocking chair on a porch.” I understood that a little bit.
The things that I’m experiencing on a daily basis may not look good. They might not look good or even fair. But God is both. He’s both good and fair. And in His Sovereignty and in His goodness, He’s given us the promise of a better life than here on earth, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ. But in the meantime, He truly cares. And He shows up. He is alive and He’s active. He takes care of His beloved. He has been a Father to me, and a Husband. He has made Himself known every single day. And I think if we just look for Him, you don’t have to go through what I’m going through to know the goodness of God. And to see His activity and His love in your life, all you have to do is look around.
Again, if you’d like to watch the video, they did such an excellent job, the link is in the show notes.
The definition of “fair” is treating people equally without favoritism or discrimination. With that definition, we might actually be able to say that life is indeed fair when it comes to pain and hardships. They seem to indiscriminately visit us. Bad things happen to good people…AND bad people. But we don’t look at it like that, right? Because we think fairness in life means that tragedy and pain and sorrow won’t visit us. But it most certainly does. We think that we should always travel a smooth road and things should go our way. But it clearly doesn’t.
So, what do with do with that? Is that it? Is there any hope?
Friend, just because you’ve heard the definition of “fair,” you might still hold on to the belief that life is not always fair. But as I mentioned in the video, there is One who is - both good and fair. One that we can unequivocally count on. And that is God. He shows up, without favoritism or discrimination. The ultimate in “fair.” When the stuff of life overwhelms us, when our hearts don’t think we can take anymore, when we’ve been knocked to the ground by the hurt this life hands us, He shows up when you call to Him. He’s not consulting some book to see how many times you’ve been to church in the past year. He’s not looking at a naughty and nice list trying to decide if He’s coming to your side. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doubting Him lately. Or if you’ve been angry with Him. Or you’ve even walked away for a while. He’s rushing to you, without favoritism, without discrimination. Because He cares with a deep and abiding love. And that love was shown in the promise of something so much better than this life could ever provide. A promise that we will live with Him in a place where there is no more death, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain. More than fair? Oh, yes, my friend. So much more than fair.
Friend, what are you up against right now that’s making you feel like life is not fair? Are you in a place where you can say in the midst of that, regardless of what that is, that God is fair? If you’re struggling with that belief, I’d love to help you get some clarity and peace about it by offering you a free 30-minute Life Coaching session. It’s crucial and I want to help you. I’ve put a link to my calendar in the show notes. Or you can visit my website tricizody.com and send me an email there.
Have a beautiful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.