By David Faust
Consider how we treat God. He is the giver of every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). Jesus compared him to a loving father who gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:9-11), but the Lord gets blamed for all kinds of evil and misfortune. Why are we so quick to accuse God of injustice when sinners sin, killers kill, and thieves steal? Proverbs 19:3 observes, “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.”
Grateful for the Gifts?
What if you show up at my house one day at 4:00 and hand me a $100 bill? I ask, “Why are you giving me this money? Did I do something to earn it?”
“No, it’s a gift,” you insist.
“How can I repay you?”
“You don’t have to repay me,” you continue. “Just enjoy it and use it well.” Puzzled but grateful, I accept the $100.
The next day at 4:00 you ring my doorbell again with another $100 for me. Again I am surprised, but this time I accept the money more readily and secretly hope you’ll come back again tomorrow.
And you do! The pattern continues for days, then months and years. I grow accustomed to your generosity. Now I expect you to be there every afternoon. I build my budget on the presumption that you will hand me $100 every day.
Then one day you don’t show up. At 4:00 I’m waiting expectantly by the door, but this time the doorbell doesn’t ring. At first I’m a little worried, but as the hours tick away, I realize you’re not going to show up at all. Now I’m angry. What will happen to all my plans? How can I live without that money? Why did you let me down?
I call you on the phone and demand, “Where’s my $100?” Somewhere along the way, I forgot what you provided each day was an undeserved gift.
Blessed or Bitter?
God enables us to breathe, but we rarely thank him for our lungs until the day they no longer function properly. Our hearts beat 100,000 times a day, but most of us don’t think about heartbeats unless we’re scheduled for open-heart surgery. We enjoy the pleasures of eating, but do we consciously thank God for our taste buds?
It’s understandable when we wonder about God’s justice. We shake our heads at the news of tsunamis and tornadoes, house fires and car accidents, school shootings and other random acts of violence. But if we think a little longer and deeper, we realize that life isn’t fair, but God isn’t life. God is God—the giver of life. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8, 9).
Although we shake our heads at the world’s cruelty and unfairness, eventually we must bow our heads in gratitude. Why allow unanswered questions to make us bitter? “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).
God is kinder than we deserve, and he calls us to be instruments of his grace. We can show up at our neighbors’ doors bearing gifts that make it more bearable to live in an unjust world.
1. What injustices trouble you the most?
2. What are you personally doing to correct injustice?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for September 14, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Isaiah 27, 28
Isaiah 29, 30