Friday, June 12, 2009

Life Isn't Fair

Remember when you were a kid, and your brother got the last scoop of ice cream, or your sister got to play with her friends while you had to do chores, or your friend's family spent spring vacation at Disneyland (again) while your family visited Aunt Mabel (again), whose house always smelled like cats? Remember how you whined to your parents..."But it's not fair!"

If your parents were anything like mine, they probably didn't care too much for your whining, and repeated a phrase you quickly grew to resent: "Tough. Life's not fair." Whereupon you probably went off to pout at the terrible injustice that had been done to you.

Well, a fact that used to be a source of great irritation to me has become a source of great joy. Life isn't fair! Thank God it isn't fair!

I'm not being facetious. It isn't fair that God allowed us to come to this beautiful earth, an earth filled with so many wonders, where we can experience kindness, love, and contentment. It isn't fair that He gave us prophets since the beginning of time, that He spoke to them from heaven nd thereby directed the affairs of His children. It isn't fair that He led our ancestors out of bondage and captivity, that He delivered them from their enemies, that He fed them in the wilderness and led them to a land of promise. What did they do to deserve such miracles? Truthfully, they did nothing. They did not deserve such magnanimity. Life isn't fair. Deliverance and redemption was not what the children of Israel deserved. It was not fair. It was gloriously unfair.

It isn't fair that God condescended to come to earth in the form of man. It isn't fair that He lived as a peasant instead of as the King He was. It isn't fair that He, who was sinless, suffered for our sins, that He, who was whole, bore the aggregate agony of the incompleteness of fallen man. It isn't fair that Christ suffered in Gethsemane and died on Calvary, that He rose again the third day so that we could "have life, and...have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). What did we do to deserve this infinite and eternal sacrifice? Truthfully, we did not deserve such great love. Life isn't fair. The Atonement of Jesus Christ was not what we deserved. It was not fair. It was gloriously unfair.

It isn't fair that God has spoken again in these days, that He and His angels have ministered to men in the flesh. It isn't fair that we have heard "Glad tidings from Cumorah" (Doctrine & Covenants 128: 20). It isn't fair that we live in a time when the priesthood, the power of God, is on the earth. It isn't fair that by its power we can be sealed eternally to our families and to God. It isn't fair that God would continue to speak to His prophets down through the ages, even to the present day, leading His children and drawing us back to Him. It isn't fair that He would reveal Himself in His temples, that He would give His children ever-increasing light and knowledge, that He would visit us in mercy and love and teach us how to become as He is. What did we do to merit such great power and glory? Truthfully, they are not things that we deserve. Life isn't fair. The Restoration and the blessings of the restored gospel are not fair. They are gloriously unfair.

To ask for fairness is to ask the Lord to turn us over to the buffetings of Satan, to allow us to die physically and spiritually, to abandon us to our own fallen condition. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

I am ever so greatful that the Lord, like my parents, doesn't seem particularly interested in being scrupulously fair. His work is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man," (Moses 1:39) the most ambitious and least "fair" pursuit in the universe. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Eternal life is the "greatest of all the gifts of God" (Doctrine & Covenants 14:7). I could not, no matter how great and prolonged my effort, do anything to merit eternal life. Because eternal life is not fair. Eternal life is gloriously unfair.

Thanks be to God!

Picture from http://shadows-canisters.tripod.com/

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