This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Jennifer Rothschild continues the series with some thoughts on what it means that God is just.
“We would like to take the hammer of doctrine
And take the nails of piety
And nail your feet to the floor
And have you stay in one place.
And then we find you moving,
Always surprising us,
Always coming at us from new directions.”
– Walter Brueggemann, Not the God We Would Have Chosen
This prayer by Walter Brueggemann captures the confusion, the heartbreak, we feel when God’s ways aren’t always what we want. When God doesn’t behave like we expect or prefer, we may think His ways are, well, not so perfect. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot about life that is really hard, confusing, and heart-breaking, right? When a teenage girl goes blind, when a baby is born with autism, when a car accident leaves a young woman a widow and a single mom, just to name a few. Are we supposed to believe that things like these are part of God’s perfection? If God is perfect in all His ways, why do some of His ways feel so imperfect and unfair?
Although the world we live in is less than perfect, Scripture says that God is “The Rock—his work is perfect; all his ways are just. A faithful God, without bias, he is righteous and true” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
So how do we make this fit into our broken hearts?
How do we reconcile a perfect God with such seemingly imperfect outcomes?
God is just—entirely just.
That’s the only answer I can find to settle my heart and help me rest in the mystery of His ways. He is right and righteous—perfect in all His ways.
That means nothing comes into your life, into my life, or into this world without it first passing through the filter of God’s just character.
Since becoming blind at age 15, I’ve had times when I’ve fought back that feeling that God isn’t fair—especially when He has answered someone else’s prayer for healing and not mine. We’ve all had those moments when we wonder if God is just and right in all His ways, why are His ways right for someone else and feel so wrong for us? “Why was her son healed and not mine?” “Why did God deliver her marriage and mine ended?” “Why am I still single when I would be such a loving and faithful wife and she wasn’t and God still let her get married?” “That’s not fair!” God is just not fair.
Well, the fact is, God is “just.” He is—He will never be anything but just, right, and perfect in all His ways. But, we often confuse being just with being fair, and that’s why we can feel confusion or disappointment when God doesn’t do in our lives what He did for someone else. We can wonder if God really is just.
We often use comparison to determine fairness, don’t we? Comparisons are most often based on our experience, and they’re always subjective. Consequently, what seems unfair to me, may seem perfectly right and fair to someone else.
Rather than falling into the comparison trap, perhaps the real question you and I should ask, is not “Is God fair?” but “Is God just?” In other words, does God do what He says He will do? Is He unwavering, guided by truth? Does He judge wisely? Is He right and righteous in all His ways? We may not experience His just character in the same ways—it may not always look and feel equal. It may seem unfair sometimes. But God does not waver in His character—all He does and allows is perfect and right because He is just. God acts rightly and righteously.
That means I can look into His loving heart and say with worship and absolutely no resentment, “God is JUST, not fair!” And I can look at another woman’s life who has been healed, even though God hasn’t healed me and say with worship and absolutely no resentment, “God is JUST, not fair!”
God is just, even when He doesn’t seem fair.
Can you embrace that truth? Accepting the mystery of God’s just inequality can save you from bitterness that can wither up your soul. That is no way to live, I promise you.
My friend, you can trust that God is doing the right thing for you even when it feels like everything is going wrong. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts.” (Psalm 145:17).
You may not always understand God’s motives, methods, or the meaning behind His actions in your life. I sure don’t! But I do trust His just character, and so can you. He is never wrong or unkind.
God is a perfect Father. We can trust that he will always, always, always be just—even when things don’t seem fair.
“God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is a rock? Only our God. God—he clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:30-32).
Known for her substance and a down-to-earth style, Jennifer Rothschild weaves together colorful illustrations, universal principles, and music to help audiences find contentment, walk with endurance, and celebrate the ordinary. Through wit and poignant story-telling, Jennifer relates challenges in her life that prompt women to look beyond their circumstances to find unique gifts in unusual packaging.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s justice in your focus this month. Just click on the links below to download. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.