Life isn’t fair.
How many people relate to this? All of us? On a global scale it sure isn’t fair: massive inequality, poverty, war, distaters, disease. Some children go to bed hungry while others are fed, some families grow up safe and sheltered from war while others do not, some people face crippling disabilities or illnesses while others live life in strong, healthy bodies.
In my world the playing field is a bit more level: we can all afford a warm place to sleep, plenty of food, clean water, education, and a certain standard of safety. But still things aren’t “fair”. Why does one couple struggle with fertility while another conceives child after child? Why do some people find their forever partner while others keep searching? Why does one family suffer a devastating car accident? Why must some battle to stick to a budget while others suffer no anxiety over the price of groceries? Why is she facing depression, and why is he recovering from trauma, when the next person over is doing neither? And on and on.
Life isn’t fair. And sometimes I have an easier time accepting this. Right now is not one of the easy times. Maybe because in the last year, between the pandemic, anxiety, and social unrest right around me, these unfairnesses feel closer. Maybe I’ve just seen more hard things happening to people I love lately. Maybe both. And maybe the Lord is calling my attention to how much it’s not about fairness, at least not fairness in this world.
And that is the only answer, isn’t it? This life isn’t fair, because it’s not about this life. It’s about eternity.
“For the Lord foresees all things and provides all things, and His Foresight and Providence looks to eternity.” Arcana Coelestia 10048
“Eternal ends have to do with spiritual honors and riches, which are those of love and wisdom, in heaven.” Divine Providence 216
“The Divine providence looks to what is infinite and eternal from itself especially in saving the human race, because the Divine providence has as its end a heaven from the human race; and because this is its end it follows that the reformation and the regeneration of man, thus his salvation, is what the Divine providence especially looks to, for from those that have been saved or regenerated heaven exists.” Divine Providence 58
These quotes present ideas I know (or think I know) so well that I usually gloss over them without comprehending the immense promise and comfort they hold.
The Lord never tries to tell us that all of the suffering and unfairness are unimportant or that it’s fair. How could He, in all His compassion and love for us? But His Word is constantly reminding us that that’s not the point. The point is not that it feels balanced and fair or even okay in this life. The point of life is a heaven from the human race. And our job is to attain the spiritual tools that will allow us to be a part of that heaven.
And it still feels hard to swallow. The Lord is offering such protection and guidance and strength to us, always, but to our spirits and not to our bodies.
“…as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
For me it is an ongoing journey to believe this: to believe that the Lord is always guarding my spirit, that He will not leave me, nor anyone else, even for a moment. And once I have learned to truly believe it, I then have to learn to believe that is it enough. Protection of our spirits is enough, even when hard, bitterly unfair things happen to people. If I can learn (in the next 60 years or so) to believe that, then maybe I’ll come a little closer to truly trusting the Lord, and the peace inherent in that.
Life isn’t fair. But it would be more accurate to say this life isn’t fair. Eternity sure is.
“And the truth of peace is like the light of dawn… Peace holds within itself trust in the Lord, the trust that He governs all things and provides all things, and that He leads towards an end that is good.” Arcana Coeletia 8455