- Eldon Peterson
Wanting What's Fair
We have likely heard children protest saying, “That’s not fair!” Within each of us there is an innate sense of justice and fairness. Unfortunately, due to our own lack of objectivity, our judgements are often skewed. Each of us view the world through our own set of rose colored glasses. Granted, some may be more heavily tinted than others, but none of us possess the objectivity we perceive.
I think we can learn about this from David’s psalm of lament, Psalm 13. David opens with a question that maybe you have asked, “O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?” (Psalm 13:1-2) How about you? Has something burdened your soul, causing you to cry out to the LORD for justice?
David is not asking faithless questions; his questions are faith filled as he ask the LORD to give him understanding. To others, our questions may seem to have an accusatory edge to them; however, if we listen closely, we find that they are faith filled. With our questions, we confess a couple things.
First, we confess that our perception is contrary to what we know to be true. We wonder why if the LORD has promised to love us and care for us are the wheels of our life falling off? There are two answers. Either the LORD has abandoned you in the midst of the battle (Your faith reasons that this cannot be true.) Or there must be another answer.
Because David too knows this to be false he stands in the truth that he knows about God: that his hope is not found in circumstances, but in the LORD alone. Therefore, he cries out again, “Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. (3-4)
His cry of faith reminds me of the words of Hebrews 11:6, “It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” When we cry out to God we do so standing in the knowledge that he loves us and longs to hear our prayers. We pray because we know that our hope will only come from the Lord. He alone can “restore the sparkle to my eyes.”
Second, when we cry out to the LORD we declare our faith in His justice. The Lord’s justice and righteousness are not things he does, they are who he is. He is holy and just. Therefore, we are right to cry out to the LORD when circumstances seem to be contrary to what we know to be true. We cry out in faith.
Such faith naturally leads us to acknowledge what we know to be true of the LORD as David concludes, “But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.” (5-6) Lord, I know what things look like, it looks like things are out of control! But I have learned to trust in who you are not what I see. THEREFORE, I will trust in your unfailing love and sing your praises to all who can hear! The story of Job offers us an example of how to praise the LORD when things don’t go our way.
From Job we learn to praise the LORD because He alone is worthy of our praise. Job’s story opens with Satan accusing the LORD suggesting that Job only praises Him because He is kind to him. The LORD allows Satan to test Job and Satan kills Job’s children and destroys his possessions. Job’s response offers us a good model of how to respond to injustice in our life, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:20-21) We don’t worship the LORD because He gives us what we want, we worship Him by trusting in His unfailing love!