I really like to control as much of my life as possible. I like to think that through careful planning and wise decision-making, I’ll successfully navigate myself and my family through the ups and downs of life. Now, that sounds really nice, but life doesn’t work that way, does it? Truth is, it’s actually been through circumstances beyond my control that have more often redirected my life. Some of those circumstances have been good but many have been very hard and painful.
Most of our lives are spent dealing with situations that are totally beyond our control. Some of those events are small and seemingly insignificant and we hardly even notice them, but others are massive and life altering. Most often those circumstances seem totally unfair. Whether you are a Christian or not, here’s the brutal truth, life isn’t fair!
So often, when life comes unraveled at the seams, we wonder where God is in the pain, confusion and disappointments of it all.
There have been times in my life where God has felt so close to me when I was suffering but other times he’s felt distant. The book of Esther teaches us that when life is unfair, God is still working.
As we read through Esther and look at our own lives, we need to pay attention to the “just so happens”, the “coincidences”, and the times where we were in the right place at the right time, because often it’s God’s hidden hand at work. When life seems unfair, sometimes God has a greater purpose in the delays and denials we experience. Could it be in the confusion, in the waiting, the delays and even denials of life that God is working through the bad and the good in his own timing? Can you trust in God’s purposes and plans?
The story of Esther reminds us that no one and nothing can stop God’s people and God’s plans because even when life is unfair, God is still working.
In the story of Esther, life seems so unfair for both Esther and her adoptive father, Mordecai. Esther was taken from her home and brought into the king’s court to be sexually used. Mordecai was embarrassed by not receiving a reward after putting himself at risk to save the king from an assassination plot. For us it’s so frustrating when our best made plans don’t work out and our good deeds or hard work go unnoticed and unrewarded. It’s really hard to see wicked people prosper instead of us. Esther and Mordecai’s story reminds us over and over again that we can live through those disappointments of life with patience and grace, because we place our trust in a God who is always working for us. As followers of Jesus, we walk by faith, not sight. As Christians, we place our trust in a God who can use even injustices for good.
Personally, Esther’s story hits home for me on many levels. As I look back on my life, there have been many moments where I felt life was unfair. Growing up poor, without a father around and with a drug addicted mother forced me to grow up earlier than I should have. We were at the mercy of the welfare system, food stamps, rent help and handouts. It was embarrassing for me to use food stamps at the grocery store. My family hit rock bottom when my mom’s boyfriend overdosed and died. My mom went into a depression and couldn’t go to work, and we were evicted from our apartment and forced to move into a homeless shelter for families. Meanwhile, I was playing all-star baseball and no one had any idea what we were going through. But, through the poverty of my childhood, I developed a work ethic and hustled to put food on the table. This work ethic still drives me today. I have deep compassion and sympathy, especially for kids growing up in poverty. Ultimately, I can see how God was there in my darkest and loneliest moments. I prayed to God long before I had any relationship him. God protected me from any physical or sexual abuse, which was miraculous. God also brought teachers, coaches, neighbors and other people into my life at key moments when I needed them. Finally when I heard the gospel, I was wide open to receive him as my Lord and Savior because all along, God was working.
What seems unfair in your life? What has tempted you to doubt God’s goodness and his provision for you? Spend some time looking back at your life and seeing how God has provided and used hard, unfair things to form you. If life seems unfair right now, bring it all to Jesus and ask him to use the unfair things happening now for His glory and for your good. That is who God is because when life seems unfair, He is still working.