Job 18:5-6 (from The Message)
Here’s the rule: the light of the wicked is put out. Their flame dies down and is extinguished. Their house goes dark - every lamp in the place goes out. Their strong strides weaken, falter; They stumble into their own traps.
Isn’t this what we LOVE to believe? We see evil and wickedness and think, “Oh but some day they will get THEIR due.” I think for a long time in my life, I thought that...believed that. Television shows and movies reinforced it. The Lone Ranger always won...and left the silver bullet. (Who IS that masked man?) Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarrett would say, “Book ‘em Dano.” But then my adult world began to take over. It wasn’t that clear cut. Braggarts got their way. Evil people prospered. Humility was not honored. Even TV fell into it. J.R. Ewing got away with adultery, thievery, dishonesty, underhandedness, dastardliness, disloyalty, selfishness, and even survived a murder attempt. And we tuned in every week hoping to see him get his due and he kept getting his way!
The fact is that life is not fair. It never has been fair. It never will be. In my small world I always thought God would make it right. The Bible thought God would make it right. Job’s friends thought God would make it right. But Job knew differently. He knew that we were here to slug it out...sometimes even slug it out with God. He knew that his righteousness, his human perfection was NOT repaid. Perhaps one of the greatest scandals of the early church was that Jesus was crucified even though he was innocent. The Roman centurion in Matthew says “surely this man was innocent” as he watched that first Good Friday come to an end with nature’s upheaval.
COVID has taught us that life is not fair, too. How could it take some from us and not others? How could it take those who flew into the fray to help out? How could it create terrible upheaval for some and totally leave others untouched in any way? And, when this pandemic began, if you were an overbearing, evil person who just wanted to be left alone so you could play golf when you wanted to and you didn’t CARE how others did? COVID rewarded your horrible behavior!
Thank goodness for Christ. Thank goodness for Lent and Holy Week and Good Friday. Nice people don’t finish first. Good people don’t always come out on top. But they DO get to stand in the presence of God. They get to stand in the presence of caring and love and hope and sorrow and waiting and patience and disappointment....and we get to live in it all. We still get to participate and experience the joys as well as the defeats. Because the defeats always teach us to appreciate the victories. Thank goodness for Christ.
Jesus calls us, o’er the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless sea;
Day by day his sweet voice sounded,
Saying “Christian, follow me.”
Pastor Rick Moser