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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

It Isn’t Fair

We want life to be “fair.” It would be nice if it were possible to eliminate injustice. We long for serenity, security, safety, and to be comfortable.

But the world you and I live in is anything but nirvana (a paradise free from stress and strife). Your world — my world — is not fair, just, or tranquil. That’s reality.

To advocate for justice is noble. Who would want to champion injustice? Disagreements about what is just and unjust, righteous or unrighteous, are inevitable. Not everyone agrees with me — or you. That’s reality.

As the youngest child in my family, one of my most common complaints was: It’s not fair! It wasn’t acceptable (to me) that my brothers could stay up later, go places where I couldn’t, or have more freedom than I had.

Even with maturity, my inclination to see life as “unfair” persisted. It wasn’t fair that I was overlooked for a promotion. After all, I was better qualified, had served the company longer, and had more education.

It’s not fair that:

  • Both of my daughters were diagnosed with breast cancer and had to endure chemotherapy simultaneously.

  • Discrimination, war, or abuse is allowed to continue in any form. Or,

  • A virus is allowed to disrupt our lives.

It isn’t fair that… [Go ahead, fill in the blank]

The reality is: Life is not equitable or always favorable. It’s rarely tranquil. We’re not the first who have encountered injustice or have been guilty of committing acts of inequity. And, we won’t be the last.

God gave the words to the prophet Isaiah to proclaim to refugees living in Babylon, far removed from their land and holy city that lay in ruin:

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned…” (Isaiah 40:1-2)

God’s people had sinned, embracing idols, committing acts of injustice, immorality, and had become insensitive to God’s messengers (Jeremiah 7). But they were still God’s people.

Although God did not overlook their sins, through Isaiah, He offers words of pardon. The Lord’s words are tender, loving, and comforting. They revealed God’s merciful kindness to them when things didn’t seem fair.

The second Sunday of Advent reminds us of the Peace, these words offer when life isn’t fair. Isaiah’s words still bring comfort. They remind us that — like Israel — we, too, are capable of injustice and sin. We can also be insensitive to God and need pardon.

Advent is a time to prepare for Christ’s coming. As we wait with HOPE for the arrival of Jesus, we also long for PEACE. By faith, we look forward to the day our warfare — within and without — will end.

Professor Davie Napier, Yale Divinity School, in an address to a graduating class at Lexington Theological Seminary years ago said:

“Peace, always tenuous, fragile, at best fleeting, may be lost to perpetual darkness. And it is a rough time for ministry when quite apparently in our own and most countries of the world, peace is wanted and somehow expected without justice.⁠[1]”

What seems unfair to you? What injustices rob your peace? Are there acts of inequity God sees in you (and me) that disturb our peace?

As we wait for the coming of Christ, let’s remember God’s pardoning words that bring comfort. And, let’s hold close to our hearts, Isaiah’s words of assurance:

Isaiah 40:28–31 (ESV)

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted, but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

“God of peace, you sent Your Word to speak repentance, reconciliation, and comfort to me. Help me extend that same Peace to others so together; we may confidently receive your pardon and Peace, even when life isn’t fair. Blessed be God now and forever. Amen.


[1] G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1986), 273.

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