The cross wasn’t fair either.
Consider these verses:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Talk about unfair. The cross is the ultimate “unfair” event. A sinless Jesus Christ. The one who raised the dead to life, healed thousands, taught with such authority that even the wisest sage couldn’t debate him. Jesus Christ, the ultimate lover of the unlovable, the consistent example of righteousness, would willingly choose to end his life in a despicable, shameful way bearing a Roman cross simply out of obedience to his Father’s will. Though he himself never knew a shameful thought, a disobedient act or had an impure moment he would literally become the recipient of the Father’s wrath against all of those things and more. The full weight of the sins of the world, the wrath of God, would be placed upon his shoulders in the form of a cross beam and he would be stripped naked, flayed open and publicly humiliated for nothing that he himself earned, yes that is the worst kind of “unfair”. The righteous dying for the wretched, perfection dying for the putrid. He took the stripes and I received the healing. He went through hell so I could go to heaven. He paid the debt that I owed. When I think of what the Father did for me I sink down in shame and humility and feel an undeniable passion to live every day of my life for Him. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2:7 that God showed us the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Daily I am reminded that although everything in my life may not go as I desire, the cross is a consistent reminder that God is for me. Jesus Christ loves me and he went through the unthinkable so that I might have a relationship with Him.
Lets be honest and admit that our tendency in the midst of difficulties is to turn on God. You become frustrated and angry at him because certain events happen in your life that you feel he could have prevented. There are times when we shake our fist at heaven and scream, “God, you just don’t understand, you have no idea how hard this is!” At times we believe that he doesn’t care or that he stands aloof to our sufferings. The cross is the ultimate symbol of how much God cares for us. For every time we have a compulsion to say to God, “Life isn’t fair” we would do well to remember that the cross wasn’t fair either. Yet, it was God’s plan to send his Son through suffering and shame that actually belonged to you. It was never his cross, his suffering or his cup of wrath to drink. It was ours. Totally yours and mine. I remember the scene in Mark 14: 34-36 where Jesus kneels alone in the garden praying to the Father about what was to come. His heart is grieving, not because he would face a Roman death. His heart is writhing in pain because the Father would place the sins of the world on him and God would turn his back on his son for a moment. Yet through it all he never shook his fist at his father and screamed, “This is not fair.” He accepted the Father’s will because he knew that God’s plans were perfect though they weren’t comfortable.
Contrary to popular opinion it is not God’s ultimate plan for us to live a long, happy, healthy, peaceful life. It is not God’s plan to protect us from every hurt. It is not God’s ultimate plan simply to save us, protect us from harm and then carry us to heaven. I realize that may ruin your theology and I hate to hurt your feelings, but God’s greatest desire isn’t your comfort, rather it is your holiness. Holiness and obedience doesn’t come through peaceful, comforting times where life is fair and every story has a happy ending. Hebrews 2:10 says of Jesus, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” And in Hebrews 5:8, “though He was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” Even Jesus went through suffering and difficulties yet God used those sufferings for his glory.
For a believer, the cross event serves as our equilibrium. It keeps our life in balance even when difficulties come. I remember as a child going to six flags with a friend. One of the first rides we stood in line for was the “wheelie”. Not sure if it is called this anymore or if the ride is still standing. I remember as a child watching this monstrosity spinning at neck breaking speeds flinging the riders into the air. I was horrified but wouldn’t dare admit it for the fear of being called a “chicken.” As the attendant was placing me on the ride and securing me inside one of the cars she must have sensed my fear. In kind words she said, “if you will fix your eyes on a spot and not look around you will be fine.” And that became my plan. I found a sign inside the car and I watched it as we were flung into the air. I never felt motion sickness nor fear because I had focused my stare thus missing the fearful sights around me. The advice of the worker still resonates in my heart some 30 years later. In the midst of uncertainty and fear, even when my world is spinning out of control and things don’t seem fair, if I will fix my eyes on the cross I will have his perspective.
I implore you to become “cross eyed”. All of our accusations and complaints against God are satisfied with one look at His bleeding Son on the center cross. For every time you feel compelled to shake your fist at heaven and tell God how unfair your life is, remember the cross. Jesus’ suffering reaped eternal benefits and in God’s economy so will yours. “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.