Monday, 25 July 2011

Injustice and the missing bun

Hello, God.
I'd be a rich woman if I had a pound for every time my children say (or shout), 'It's not fair!'  For example, today we baked buns together and the children each had their little bowl of mixture which made six buns.  Elizabeth gave one of her buns to Grandma, and ate one. Then she sneaked one of Katy's buns off the other side of the cooling rack and added it to hers so that they were even again. 

Unfortunately, owing to the greater mixing power of Lizzie vs Katy, Katy's cakes were easily identifiable as Katy's, being smaller and less risen. So Lizzie's new batch of cakes consisted of four beautifully risen buns straining at their paper cases, and one flattish one that looked suspiciously like Kate's. With Katy on her way to the kitchen to ice and decorate her buns, I extracted the purloined bun and placed it back with it's five siblings. 

Cue: wail from Elizabeth:  'But Mummy! It's not fair!'

Actually, it was perfectly fair. Elizabeth had snaffled one of her own buns (while it was still warm, very sensible) and had nobly gifted another to Grandma, who had an unaccompanied cup of tea (very laudable).  Sadly, her four looked quite lonely in comparison with Kate's six. Then my little Katy climbed up on a stool, assessed the situation, counted by jabbing her little index finger into each bun and immediately donated one of hers to make up the numbers on the opposing team. What about that?  

Round of applause for Katy, I think. Lizzie stopped crying and there was a moment's silence in the kitchen while Grandma and I gazed admiringly at our little peacemaker.  So they had each had five buns to decorate. Then round two began when Lizzie dipped her iced bun in it's entirety into the chocolate sprinkles leaving only one or two left that didn't adhere to the icing. 

I know. Scones a bit
overdone. Not many left
now though. 
Cue: wail from Katy: 'Mummy! It's not fair!'

And so on. You get the drift. But they're just kids, right? You wouldn't expect anything different from children, would you?  

I realise that I am no different. Maybe I don't give voice to it, and maybe it's more sophisticated than an inadequate number of buns, but I know that I am guilty many times a day of the adult equivalent of the 'It's not fair!' wail. 

Right, here we go. Just off the top of my head, from memory, so far today (and it's about four o'clock):

Why do I have to wake up when I want to stay asleep? It's not fair.
Why can't I hear out of my right ear still? It's not fair. 
Why do I have to fight with Katy about washing her hair/brushing her teeth/eating her breakfast/putting on her clothes? It's not fair.
Why do things keep going wrong? It's not fair. 
Why do I have to tidy up the girls' painting things instead of sitting here playing on my computer? It's not fair.
Why don't people leave me alone for five minutes to have a cup of coffee in peace? It's not fair.
Why are good people round me having a horrible time? It's not fair.
Why are you not doing what I'm asking you to do, God? It's not fair.
Why can't I eat a plateful of buttered scones without putting on even more weight when some people can trough through many of them and remain slim? It's not fair. (This one really isn't fair, Lord.)

And I'm quite sure that I could think of more. In fact I did think of more but I'm less than willing to drag them all out into the open. 

Which is why this morning's reading from the very wise A W Tozer made me think. 

'Christians who understand the true meaning of Christ’s cross will never whine about being treated unfairly. Whether or not they are given fair treatment will never enter their heads. They know they have been called to follow Christ, and certainly the Savior did not receive anything approaching fair treatment from mankind.'

Oh dear. It enters my head quite often. 

'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth . . . neither was any deceit in his mouth.' 
Isaiah 53:7, 9

Oh dear. I know. This is the point at which the wind sort of goes out of my sails. It doesn't much matter if my little lot is 'fair' or not; it's trivia in comparison with the injustice that you suffered on my behalf, and yet you never complained. Not even a bit. Just imagine the scream that could have echoed down through the ages if you had yelled out, 'God! It's not fair!' from the cross. And it wasn't. Not a bit fair, because you didn't deserve to die, you deserved to be enthroned as King. You didn't deserve to pay the ultimate price, but I did. But you did it for me. You did it without complaining or whining or moaning. 

I'm so sorry. 

Tozer goes on to say:

'The man who cries “Unfair!” is not a victorious man. He is inwardly defeated...'

I suppose that's how I'm feeling at the moment, but I know that I'm not defeated for I have the victory in you. But the way I'm feeling at the moment isn't an excuse because I'm often pretty whiny about what's fair and what isn't. I wonder if anyone ever grows out of it?

Really? Oh. Just me then? That's disappointing.

'It is a certainty that Christians will suffer wrongs; but if they take them in good spirit and without complaint, they have conquered their enemy.' 

Oh here we go again. The enemy. I have so much to learn about the enemy. I'm reading books about the battle in and for the mind and I'm realising that so many of my thoughts aren't good for me.  The negative, the defeatist, the self-pitying, the critical, the resentful... all those type of thoughts for starters are not good for me. And the icing on top of the pyramid of destructive thoughts (like the chocolate on a pile of profiteroles) has to be the childish-sounding wail: 'But it's not fair!'

Help me with this one, Lord, because I often feel that life isn't fair. Indeed, that's what my Mum and Dad kept telling me as a child, and I know that it's true. It wasn't fair for you, was it? You came to love us and save us and show us the way to all that is good, and what did we do? We hurt you and rejected you and killed you. That wasn't fair.

So help me with this one, Lord. It seems a big ask to want me to take all these injustices in my stride - 'In good spirit and without complaint' - that seems a long way from where I am. One more in a long list of things that I can't do.

But you can.

When you know that I'm about to get crabby about things not going my way, remind me that your experience of the world wasn't one of perfect justice and yet you never complained. It might sound small but if my thought life is as important as I'm starting to think it is, then please help me to get a grip of all of these small things that add up to a big thing. I want to turn the negatives into positives and learning how to stop the wallowing will be a step in the right direction.

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