One of the things I love about exercise is how just it is. Most of the time. You work hard, it shows. You never exercise. It shows. Your results are determined by what you put in. You determine your destiny. The picture to the left is a motto I subscribe to…for the most part.
I used to see the world entirely as black and white, right and wrong. If you asked me what I was most passionate about when I was in my twenties, I may have answered, “justice.” I valued fairness, equity and at the end of the day knowing that whatever you got, it’s what you probably earned. Raises and promotions were for those who worked hard and deserved them. Only slackers got fired.
It was all so clear to me then. The good guys always win. The bad guys always lose. Wasn’t that even a Sunday School song or something?
But, when I was just 24 years old, my view of the world got turned upside down by politics. I had the opportunity to run a U.S. Congressional race for a candidate from Abilene, Texas. He was clearly (in my humble opinion), the good guy. We played fair, the other guy played dirty. We were neck and neck in the polls until our opponent took out an attack ad campaign that lied about my candidate. It hurt us a little but we were able to hang on, that is, until the weekend before Election Day. That Saturday the opposing party did phone calls to every senior citizen voter telling them that my candidate wanted to get rid of their social security. We lost the election by a few percentage points.
I didn’t understand it. I was good. I was on the good guy’s team. I was a “King’s Kid” – shouldn’t I always win? Why didn’t the bad guy lose? How could this happen to him? Yet alone, how could this happen to ME?
Why didn’t I get what I deserved? Which was, of course, victory? God led me to that place, gave me that job. How and why did he allow me to fail?
For me, this was one of my first true crises of faith.
Now almost 14 years later from that miserable Election Day, I’m a different person. I see the world with different eyes. I see that good things don’t always happen to good people and that bad things don’t always happen to bad people. I’ve had to learn to accept that the God I serve sometimes allows good and bad things to happen to those who don’t deserve either one.
I still wish I had a good answer for why. To be honest, I’m a lot more comfortable with my system of meritorious earning and reward because then I’m in control. I choose my destiny. I think this is the mindset of most. If I do good, am good, be good…then a just and fair God will only give me good. And, vice versa. The bad will get what they deserve too.
But, if I am good enough on my own. If I can do “enough” good to get good, then I don’t need savior, do I?
I think that’s called self-righteousness.
That’s the crazy thing about salvation through Jesus Christ. The God of supreme justice created a system where we don’t get what we deserve if we believe and follow his son. We get grace instead of Hell.
He sees our sins and says, “I’ll wipe them clean and never mention them again.”
And, the truth is, it’s really not fair.
Thank, God it’s not.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.