When Life's Not Fair

  • May 14, 2018
  • #9401

Injustice can cause bitterness and unwillingness to forgive, but God’s way of justice provides strength to extend His mercy to those who have hurt us.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a riveting story you’ll not forget.

Vicky Olivas is more than a good friend to me; she’s the one I look up to when I grow weary of my wheelchair. Let me explain: years ago, when Vicky's husband abandoned her and her two-year-old son, she needed to find work. On one fateful day during a job interview, she was brutally attacked by a man pretending to hire her. In the struggle, he pulled out a gun and shot her through the neck. She fell to the floor, paralyzed. The man panicked, dragged her to his car, dumped her off at an emergency room, and quickly sped away. Lying there on a gurney, bleeding badly, Vicky knew she would live, but as a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. For a long time after that tragedy, she wrestled with bitterness. The man got out after 3 years in jail.

In the years that followed, Vicky's bitterness finally began to melt under the pressure of others' prayers, warming her to the Word of God. "But sometimes I wonder," she once told me, "about the fairness of it all." I explained to her that it took the most unfair act in history, the execution of Jesus, to satisfy divine justice in a world full of injustice. That event made it possible for the least deserving of all; a convicted thief on a cross next to the Lord’s, to gain an eternity of undeserved happiness. But one day, I told her, the scales of justice will not only balance, but they will be weighted in our favor, all for our good and God's glory.

Vicky thought long and hard about that, how the world’s worst murder became the world’s only salvation. How she didn’t deserve heaven, but now, because she put her faith in Christ, she’s heading for glory. Vicky now understands that, even in her wheelchair, she is no better than that thief on the cross. By all that's "fair," she knows she should be on her way to hell, and that there was nothing "fair" about Christ paying the penalty for her sins. She doesn't deserve such mercy. And neither do we. But it’s what the gospel is all about. And because God extended mercy and forgiveness to her, she extended the same to that awful man who shot her. He’s long since passed away, and I have no idea if he accepted Christ, but at least Vicky’s heart is free from bitterness.

Plus, my friend has the confidence that this present life is like a blink of an eye compared with the eternal joy we will experience in the Father's house. Just 30 seconds in the presence of Jesus will make all her pain, all the difficulties related to quadriplegia, just melt away. And if Vicky were sitting beside me right now, she would encourage you to think hard about heaven, and then give thanks to the One who makes it possible; by the great injustice of dying on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. You should now that Vicky has been in her wheelchair for more than 30 years. We talk on the phone and pray for each other, and get together for lunch or dinner when we can. Each time we do, I’m inspired by her humble spirit, her love of prayer, and her devotion to our wonderful Savior. Friend, if some terrible injustice has been perpetrated against you, let it go. And you can do that because of the terrible injustice that was perpetrated against Christ… for you. Bitterness and lack of forgiveness just isn’t worth it. Trust Christ today in a fresh way, and extend the same mercy to others, that God is extended to you.

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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