Biblical Help When Life is Unfair
- Thursday, April 25, 2013
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at email@example.com.
(Dear Reader, the following letter was written by a woman in another country who is in the throes of an acrimonious, three-year dragged out divorce. I am choosing not to fix all the spellings and poor grammar--except for adding a few marks of punctuation where needed for clarity. I don't want to interfere with the hurt and passion in her letter).
I would like to know why in my eyes are those who are unfaithful in their marriage are more blessed then the faithful ones.
I am going through a divorce for the past 3 years due to the fraud my husband did to our property. When I served him with divorce papers he then went quietly move our property from one bank to another and … due to this fraud our divorce is dragging to go through.
Financially the attorney has decided to give me R100.000 out of the deal as he gets all the other money (note: her husband is slated to get R800,000 in the settlement--Roger.) Firstly to me this is so unfair.
I know i should not question God for this but why is he so faithfully to my husband. He is currently staying in our house with his mistress he's been having an affair with for the past 5 years in our marriage. My husband do not make time for our daughter and buy all the nice things for his mistress and her kids take them to nice restaurants when I hardly have to go by for the month. He lives a kings live and are blessed by God in abundant the he can buy new cars and dress the best.
Here am I who pray and are not in any relationship and trying to get by month after month struggling and nothing right is happening for me. I ask God last night why is he doing this to me when in the bible he states he hates adultery when the adulterous are being blessed by him?
Even the law is on the side of the guilty one and me walk out of a marriage with nothing only a R100.000. What can i do with this money yet my husband have over R800.000 in the bank which he is hiding from me. i could not even get half of my furniture or a car now his mistress is driving my car sleeping in my married bed with my husband my divorce is not yet finalize as i bluntly refuse to take this money they made me an offer
Is it something i am doing wrong that i should struggle like this for praising God and accepting him in my life,. Or is it true what they say life is just not fair?
Please i need to know what is it that i am not doing write because right now i feel when i do wrong i will be blessed more then living right as i am not reaping the good fruit at all.
What a shame! Life is not supposed to be like this. I imagine that when you married him you had so many hopes and dreams for a good marriage and a happy family life. I know that God grieves for the rejection, pain and hurt you are suffering so deeply. Nobody deserves to be treated like your wicked husband has treated you.
I can see why you are questioning God's goodness and whether or not it is worth following Him at all.
The world is sinful and unfair. You are right, we live in a sinful and fallen world. You are reaping the results of your husband's sin.
One of David's close friends, Asaph asked the same question that you have in Psalms 73 Asaph was a cymbal player who was promoted to directing one of the 24 temple choruses who ultimately became the chief of sacred music.
He was frustrated and distressed when he looked around and realized that many ungodly people were enjoying life to the fullest while he wasn't getting along so well.
Many Christians struggle with this dilemma. Here you trust God and you look around and see a lost man with a new house when your roof is falling in. Their kids have two or three pairs of shoes, and you can hardly afford one! Others get promotions and you're out of work!
You know the feeling, B; you are trying to live a godly life while your adulterous husband is in your bed with his mistress.
Let me tell you how Asaph dealt with the same issue. This won't solve all your problems or answer all of your questions, but it will give you a sense of understanding and hope.
He had been taught that God was good to the upright and pure in heart, that God cared for His children, but that didn't coincide with his experience. Like you, it seemed to him like the wicked he knew were prospering and he was having troubles.
Let me walk you through Psalm 73 to see how he handled his disillusionment and disgust--and ultimately found satisfaction and peace.
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills….
This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence. (Psalm 73:1-5, 13).
Does Asaph sound like you, or what!? You might consider that God wrote a Psalm 73 just for you!
Asaph was distressed. Just like you, B. He had been taught that God was good to the upright and pure in heart, that God cared for His children, but that didn't coincide with his experience. It seemed like the wicked he knew were prospering and he was having troubles.
Asaph then focused on himself. He is disappointed, discouraged and in despair. You feel his despair, don't you? Just like you. You're discouraged and disappointed at how God is allowing your husband to flourish while you fail.
Asaph couldn't change the circumstances; but, he could change his thinking and perspective. When he went to church, when he entered into the presence of God, everything looked different.
When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors
They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies. (Psalm 73:16-20).
In God's presence Asaph saw some additional facts that he hadn't noticed before. I will speak to this from the perspective of you and your husband.
Your husband won't get away with his behavior forever.
He is standing in a slippery place and will soon slip and slide in failure and misery.
Living outside of God's will, your husband will face an uncertain future that will result in fear and terror.
Like a dream, for his wicked behavior, he will be "forgotten". Believe me, you don't want to be "forgotten" by God.
As Asaph began to analyze all of the facts he saw that God was ruling over the affairs of men and that the ungodly are not in such an envious state after all! Especially in light of their coming end.
Your husband may seem to have an easier time on the road of life, but he is heading in the wrong direction! He is like the people lounging in deck chairs on the Titanic.
Asaph was not finished. He didn't just stop here. He doesn't just correct his thinking; he goes on to reevaluate himself to see just how he got in that mess in the first place.
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you (Psalm 73:21-22).
He bowed his head and confessed to God, "How stupid, how ignorant, how like an animal I've been."
The very minute that he makes this confession, he experiences instant reassurance when he realizes that he is better off than he ever imagined.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory (Psalm 73: 23-24).
"You hold me by my right hand" is such a little phrase, yet one so full of great significance. I remember when my children were small. They were sleeping peacefully when something would disturb their sleep and I would hear the cry of my little one. Quickly, I would go to the nursery, but I would not turn on the light, for that would completely awaken the baby. I would draw near to the bed and take hold of a tiny hand. It was dark, but the baby's hand would hold fast to mine. Soon, the crying would subside and the little one would slip again into the peacefulness of undisturbed sleep.
You will experience soothing comfort, B, as you recognize that the presence of Christ is real, and even though it may be dark all around, God, will reach out and take you by His right hand.
Let me put this in personal terms for you, B. You've been thinking all along that you need what your husband has. Let me not minimize that. However, like Asaph, the real answer to your health, contentment and victory lies in your relationship with God. If you have God then you have the strength to live successfully in the midst of any circumstances.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26).
May I leave you with two thoughts.
First, let me encourage you to read Philippians 4:10-14 to see how God can pour in the power of Christ to bring contentment in your life even in the midst of these terrible times.
Secondly, I once answered a question from a woman who was hurt just like you and who wanted vengeance on her cheating husband. My answer is on our "Preach It, Teach It" website in my "Ask Roger" column. I encourage you to look it up and I believe you will find some comfort there.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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