Parents can spot certain inborn behaviors in their children. One is an intense radar for anything that smacks of unfairness. “Mom! That’s not fair! You didn’t let me do that!” is the kind of talk every home hears. Grown-ups think and act like that too. When something bad happens, we groan, “Why me? This isn’t fair! I’ve had more than my share of bad luck already this year. I totally don’t deserve this!”
People who say that are right, actually, but for the opposite reason. We don’t deserve this, but in fact deserve something far worse. If we received from God what our daily moral thoughts and behaviors deserved, we would be packed off to hell immediately. Psalm 130:3,4 says, “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.”
Abraham had a far better posture before the Lord. On one occasion he had a big ask to make of God, but he didn’t talk about what he had earned or deserved. He made no demands; instead, he approached the throne with humility: “Abraham spoke up again: ‘I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes’” (Genesis 18:27).
When we Christians are trying to make sense of our misfortunes, let’s not descend into indignation or bitterness. Let’s accept what the Lord has chosen to allow in our lives and seek how our troubles can become an opportunity for God’s saving agenda.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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