Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home,
but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Genesis 25:28 NLT
It was my twentieth birthday and two weeks before my wedding when I first learned life is not fair.
Another driver veered into my lane of traffic, sent me into a ditch, and totaled my car. My “life-is-fair” mindset assured me she would get a ticket, pay for damages, and learn to be a more cautious driver. She didn’t, because life isn’t always fair.
We don’t always get what we deserve. I learned the lesson again recently. My husband and I have two boys: one biological and one adopted. We want another biological child and have been trying for years. Unfortunately, instead of another baby, we have endured multiple miscarriages. Four miscarriages in three years to be exact.
If life were fair, everyone who wanted a baby would have one. If life were fair, bad things wouldn’t happen to good people. But life isn’t fair. It’s a lesson we all struggle to learn at one time or another.
I bet our biblical figure for the day struggled with this lesson too. After all, when Jacob was growing up, his mother did everything in her power to make sure life was fair for him—even when it meant deceiving his father and stealing from his brother. When I first read this story, I thought to myself, What kind of mother would do that? What kind of mother would encourage her son to pretend to be someone else, even disguise himself, just to get a blessing?
But then I saw myself in Rebekah’s story. Rebekah only wanted what was best for her son. She didn’t want his father to treat him unfairly because she believed he deserved better. Every mother wants the best for her children. When a teacher doesn’t give them the grade they deserve, when someone makes fun of them, or when a group of friends leaves them out of their weekend plans … we want more for them.
We don’t want to see our children hurting, so we step in and do everything in our power to prevent any pain from entering their lives. Even if it means teaching our kids that it’s okay to bend the rules.
We want life to be fair for them, but it’s not. The earlier our children learn this lesson, the better they will adapt to life’s struggles. Instead of seeking what they think they deserve, they will learn to accept whatever God allows into their lives.
There’s one person in the Bible who did just that. His name was Jesus. When He stood before Pilate, He could have challenged the religious leaders and pleaded for justice. They were, after all, condemning Him on false charges. But Jesus didn’t challenge their decision. He didn’t seek His rights. He didn’t fight for what He deserved. His goal was not for life to be fair, but for us to be free. I, for one, am thankful Jesus valued our freedom so much.
If life were fair, Jesus would never have died on the cross. Take a moment to thank God that life isn’t always fair.
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How do you normally respond when life seems unfair?
by Lindsey Bell
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Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible and a blogger at www.lindsey-bell.com. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, and avid reader. Her passion is to inspire and encourage women through honest dialogue about her faith.