For years I lived my life based on a lie.
I don’t recall anyone saying these particular words.
I’m not sure that anyone intended me to sum the complex equation of my life’s path into two sentences. But somehow I wrapped all the teachings of my childhood into this neat little box and tied it with a bow.
If I do good, I reap goodness,
If I do bad, I’ll have bad things happen.
I had the perception that I could control the outcome of my life to some extent. I thought that if I always did good (as much as humanly possible) and kept God first, I could avoid the pitfalls and heartaches befalling others.
As I got older a stench of decay began to seep into my core as the box began to disintegrate and I witnessed:
The godly woman whose husband leaves her for another woman,
The devoted family whose beloved child dies in an accident,
The young minister and his wife who miscarry again and again,
The faithful family whose husband loses his job and then their home.
And we see ungodly people being wildly successful with lovely families and riches untold.
Somehow we can look at others’ devastated lives and be objective. We can see that their behavior didn’t cause bad things to happen. That so much is out of their control. We comfort and love them and say all the “right” words.
But when it happens to us—we begin to ask “Why?” and “Where are you God?” And we beat ourselves up thinking we could have done something differently to reap a better outcome.
Sometimes guilt moves in as we second guess our actions,
Or sometimes self-righteousness wins as we rant and rail, “We’ve lived an obedient life, so why does it feel like we are being punished?”
In my faulty theory I failed to consider two crucial variables:
The need for me to face trials in order to become strong, (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?),
And of Satan’s devious plans to upend me.
And yes I still believe that by being obedient I might reap goodness and I know that it is the way I’m called to live, regardless…But it is not why I’m obedient.
It is not like 1+1=2, an equation that always and forever has the same result.
Life is unspeakable unfair.
But as long as I remember that he will never leave me or forsake me, (Heb 13:5)
I will clench my teeth
And dry my eyes
And fight the fight
And be thankful as I focus on surviving one day at a time,
Until the moment he takes me home to my true reward.
Matthew 5:45 He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
-Does life seem unfair right now?
-Take comfort in his promises, and fight the good fight.