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  • Catherine Black

The Goodness of God’s Unfairness


Ever feel like life is unfair? I don’t think we need to answer that. We all know life can appear drastically unfair, even downright wrong sometimes. Those are some of the hardest moments to endure. It’s so easy in those moments to think in our hearts, “God, how can you let this happen?”

I know a woman who wants to be a mom more than anything else in life. She’s been anticipating the day of motherhood, the life of motherhood, since she was a small child. The best babysitter in the world, a full-time nanny, a tender heart, a nurturing spirit. These things describe this young woman. She’s been ready to be a mom longer than most people her age have been thinking about parenting.

But the Lord has not allowed her to see any of her pregnancies to full-term.

I know a woman who tried to take her own life through drug use. She chose not to finish high school after this incident. She hasn’t had many people in her life to show her better paths to take than the ones she’s chosen. Responsibility scares her. Independence scares her. She frightened and unsure; she’s insecure and inexperienced.

But the Lord has seen fit to make her a mom.

I went to her baby shower a few weeks ago. And yesterday, I answered a text from the first woman about the adoption agency we used.

Sometimes, the world feels unfair. Life slams us in the face with realities that don’t seem right. One woman didn’t want to be a mom and yet is facing that life-altering reality. One woman wants more than anything to hold her own baby and can’t.

Where is the Lord in this reversal of dreams?

The Lord Gives What We Need

Psalm 84:11 declares, “The Lord withholds no good thing from those who walk in integrity.” As Christians, we can test the sincerity of our faith against verses like this one. We love to think that the Lord gives good gifts to His children, but what about when He withholds the gifts we think are good? Is He still good then?

Of course He is. He withholds no good thing. That means, my friend, that if we are not receiving that which we think is good, it’s better than if we did receive it. He’s not withholding good things from us.

Our limited understanding can’t really grasp this. A child is a blessing from the Lord, as scripture says. So, we know children are good gifts from the Lord. But a child isn’t necessarily a good thing for everyone at any given moment, in any given scenario.

That’s hard to hear. For the women in the throes of infertility, that is a truth we’d rather not hear. We want to hear only that God will grant us what we want, especially when we know the desire to be a mom is a God-glorifying desire. I’ve been there. I know.

How can He not grant the good gift of children to those godly women who seek to raise their children according to the nurture and admonition of the Lord? How can that be fair or good?

It may hurt. It may crush us. But it is still good.

For, as James says, do we not know that the testing of our faith produces endurance, and that endurance is a tool used to perfect us?

God Uses What We Go Through to Perfect Us

Being crushed can, in fact, be the good thing God is doing for us.

But no matter who you are, the process of being crushed by the almighty, loving, sovereign God is never fun. We can, however, praise God through the midst of the pain when we realize that He’s doing exactly what we need and that He never withholds good from those who He’s called to walk uprightly.

For the woman who is pregnant and afraid: maybe this is God giving you exactly what you need. You might have had other plans for your life, but motherhood is the plan God has for your life. See the good in that. See that you’ve been given something precious, something many people covet, something that will teach you more than any other life experience could ever teach you. You’ve been chosen by God almighty to be a mom. That is an incredible gift.

For the woman who is not pregnant and in despair: maybe this is God giving you exactly what you need. You might have thought giving birth to your children was part of the plan, but maybe God has another plan. Maybe the plan is simply to wait. Maybe the plan is simply to feel this pain and to praise Him anyway. That is a lesson few have the privilege of learning. That is an incredible gift from God.

When the Rain Falls on the Unrighteous

Scripture speaks to the idea of unfairness. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. In other words, good things happen to both the saved and the unsaved. If God only blessed His children, then essentially everyone else would die. They wouldn’t be blessed with another day, another meal, healing from disease, or safety.

Blessing comes in myriad ways, and many of those blessings fall on the unsaved. God doesn’t promise the unrighteous good gifts, but He heaps them on anyway. All glory be to God! But He does promise to give good gifts to His children. We can trust that.

This doesn't mean we won't encounter terrible tragedy in life. We will. And not every awful thing we must endure is good in a strict sense. But there is good in it somewhere, if only in that we can turn to our Savior and find grace to help in time of need.

Even when it looks like all the good things are falling on those who “don’t deserve them,” consider that perhaps God is giving you, His child, the best gift for you. Trust Him in that. Praise Him for that. And in this trust and praise you will find the peace that passes understanding. We can’t comprehend why things at times look so unfair, but we can know peace in the midst of this unfairness.

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