Life is not fair. People who deserve punishment get away with it. Criminals get off. And sometimes, good men and women go to jail. And in this world, good people often get undeserving scorn and contempt. Bad things happen to good people. Life is not fair.
When in was in high school, I lettered in varsity soccer (well, they didn’t have JV). It was a new program at North Mecklenburg and the football coach wasn’t real thrilled with the program or the players. He wouldn’t share the football field (we played in the outfield of the baseball field.) The problem was that the football coach was my PE teacher.
One day in gym, I got kicked in the wrist by one of the football team’s biggest goons. A size 15 shoe for a 15 year old. I think he was the defensive line. Snapped that bone in two. Ouch. So for two months, I got a cast and sat the bench in gym class. That coach gave me a C on my report card. A C! I know he didn’t liked me much (soccer-football-read above) and I often had to listen to his scorn for the sport and players. So I was a little upset and felt it was unfair. And yet, I couldn’t appeal for he had moved to Canada to coach a CFL team. (Yeah, sounds a bit petty of me, but my blog-my story)
Life is not fair. You know what else, God is not fair either.
Before you get mad and swear to never read muddyshoes again, let me explain. God is not fair, and that is perfectly fine with me. I even rejoice in that truth.
You see if God was fair, if He gave us what we deserve, we would be punished, banished, wiped out, smushed like a bug, stomped on, or snapped out of existence like Thanos did once he had Infinity Gems – finger snap, and we just dissolved away as if we never existed.
I mean, we deserve that. We’ve blown it, daily. We rebel, whine, fall short, dishonor Him, and do our own thing – not His. We lie, cheat, lust, steal, covet, and more. We deserve punishment.
We talk and sing shout a lot about grace – receiving blessings we don’t deserve. We pray for showers of blessings, for amazing grace, and know God is a good God. But fair? Nope. You see, the other side of grace is mercy. And if God was fair, we would not get blessings but would get punishment. And though He isn’t fair, He is merciful.
Grace is getting something you don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what you do deserve.
In Psalm 123, the pilgrim is in Jerusalem, so close to the Temple, do close to his destination to worship God. It has been hard; and even now, people are mocking him. He doesn’t look to his self worth, his status, or his wealth. He keeps his eyes on his God. And in doing so, he realizes he’s needs mercy. He doesn’t ask for grace, just mercy. Three times in four verses mercy is asked for.
He looks to the majesty of the Temple, beholds the awe of being where Gods dwells – and maybe he (and me) realizes what kind of sinner we are – so we throw ourselves on the mercy of the court. And He is a merciful God. Thank you Jesus.
So today, I take my prompt from this Psalm. Lord I look to you and you alone….
- Knowing Your greatness (You are enthroned in the heavens)
- Seeking Your direction (like a servant looking for directions from his master)
- Pleading for Your mercy (don’t destroy me God, let me worship You)
- Entrusting my very being to who You are
So today, like this psalmist, look into the heart of Good and see He is a merciful God. May we keep our eyes on Him.
Have mercy oh Lord.
To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.
Post Script: my soccer coach had the grade changed. Not sure how, I didn’t ask questions. I think he just changed it without song permission. An act of mercy.