Unfair! As a parent, I hear this word daily. As a pastor, I know it to be a theological cry. The question of God’s fairness – or lack thereof – permeates the scriptures. Theologians call this problem theodicy (literally “God’s justice”). You may know it by this question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Why, God? How many times has this question been voiced, and by how many people as a response to tragedy and injustice? Those who ask “why” often know on some level that no answer is forthcoming – and that no answer could fix what has been irrevocably broken or lost. The “why” is an expression of lament, a proclamation of unfairness, a recognition that what has happened does not fit our understanding of an allegedly good, all-powerful God. A lifetime of faith may not be enough to answer why, but no honest life of faith can avoid the question.
This message is excerpted from “When God’s not fair” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the July/August 2016 Gather magazine.
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