It was the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ that started the whole thing off!
You know what I mean? The principle that if you do something crazy enough people will take notice and listen to what you’re saying. In this instance, challenge some friends to pour a bucket of freezing cold water over you, post the madness on social media, and raise awareness and funds for your nominated charity.
Last summer I was both horrified and amused in equal measure whilst watching countless people undergo the torture for a good cause, and a good laugh. And it worked. Before long the craze made the national news.
But, this week, it hasn’t been so funny to watch farmers empty hundreds of gallons of milk – from huge tractor buckets – over groups of family and friends to raise awareness of their plight. On this occasion my groans were not accompanied by smiles.
Receiving from the supermarkets less money for each litre of milk than it costs to produce isn’t funny at all. In fact it’s just plain not fair!
Injustice is an issue that raises our hackles, isn’t it?
Whether it is the injustice of war, disaster, starvation, or present-day slavery, our response is usually: “That’s not fair!” We might even go so far as to sign a petition, or donate to charity, in an effort to initiate change.
But it’s when the seeming injustices of life touch us personally that we experience the deepest pain. The imponderables of sickness, unemployment, relationship breakdown, debt, and even death, draw from our hearts the loudest response when we meet them face-to-face.
We might even add one extra word to our howl of protest.
“That’s not fair, God!”
I’ve been there, and done that, and it wasn’t my finest hour.
Our second daughter had been diagnosed with the same debilitating condition as her older sister, and so I lambasted God with my cries of injustice. The sense of unfairness was crippling, in spite of the fact that I had visited and accepted all the usual scriptures on how God’s ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8), and how He knows the plans that He has for us (see Jeremiah 29:11).
As far as I was concerned, to walk this road again was simply not fair.
Then one evening when our teenage son was going out with friends he felt very aggrieved at the curfew I’d set. In his eyes it wasn’t fair that he had to be home so much earlier than his friends. But he didn’t see things as I did. In his naivety he could not see the temptations and dangers that I, as his mother, knew lurked on our streets late at night. In reality the curfew was not about restriction, but about safety and my love for him. Yet to him, it wasn’t fair!
He couldn’t see the big picture.
God has often had to remind me about His big picture, and the truth that He includes my life –heartaches and all – as part of it. As my Heavenly Father, He sees so much more than I do from my limited perspective. Down through the years I have learnt, and am still learning, that the things that disturb my life are ultimately for my good, even if I can’t see it.
Add His loving touch to the mix and the whole picture starts to take on an altogether different perspective.
We may want to shout: “That’s not fair, God!” But patience and acceptance help us to discover that our pain is not a question of fairness, but a question of trust.
I’ve discovered that God is worth trusting. Have you?