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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Unfair God

DISCLAIMER: Over the last several weeks, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I've taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.

I can't tell you how many times I told God that He wasn't fair in those first months after the accident. Because of a broken shoulder, I was forced to sleep in a recliner at night by my doctors. Most nights, even with sleep aids, I could not sleep. So He and I would have these lengthy discussions about the accident. I told Him I didn't like Him, that I didn't understand Him. I yelled at Him, pleaded with Him and even cried myself to sleep some nights wishing God would speak to me so I could hear Him. Ultimately, every discussion I had came back to this one thought that was swirling in my mind...God just was not fair. How in the world could a God who loves me take away two of the most precious things I had in my life?

One day, I was repeating that familiar refrain, "God is not fair." I was directed (I believe by God's spirit) to read something. I can't honestly tell you what it was but the power of that passage did not escape me. My perspective was changed. Here is my paraphrase of that message.

God is not fair.

He absolutely is not. You see, if He were fair, I would have never had the privilege of marrying Sarah Trimble or of fathering Joshua Blake Barron. I would have never known her beautiful smile or that deep blue gaze of her eyes. I would have never heard the laughter of my toddler or heard him call out "daddy" as he wrapped his little arms around my neck. Here's why. Because the Bible tells us that the cost of our sin--the poor choices we make--is death (Romans 6:23) So, if God were fair He would have made me pay the price for every single one of those sins. I would have died before I made it out of third grade. Because God is not fair, He sent His perfect Son to die for me so that the price would be paid and I could have a second chance (and a third and a fourth...but you get the point).

No, God is not fair...but He is just. Because He is just, He couldn't just turn and look the other way when I sinned. No, instead of looking the other way, He looked at the Cross and saw that my sins were paid for.

Did this make my pain and sorrow go away? No. Not even close. But it did remind me that I wouldn't spend the balance of my life in the company of an unfair God--just one that loved me intensely. That realization led to a turning point conversation where I told God that I was willing to be used by Him. Our long as He promised to never leave, I'd promise to do everything I could to use Sarah and Josh's death for His glory. That's what led to the memorial scholarship fund set up at the seminary I attended. That's why I speak at medical conferences I have no business being at. That's why I blog and write and talk and journal. I want people to know that God is absolutely unfair...and I am so thankful to know He cares for me that much.

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