Imagine you are watching a movie.
After 90 minutes of dramatic twists and turns, it looks like the the hero will finally save the day, the couple will get married or the adventurers will complete their quest. But just as the screen zooms in on the protagonist’s face for the final shot of the movie, something goes awry, ruining the happy ending. The screen goes black and white letters pop up stating, “I guess life just isn’t fair.”
Then, the credits start rolling.
Chances are your favorite movie doesn’t end with that line.
Because it doesn't exactly draw the masses.
Our world and society have been enticed by a message that is showing up in every form of media from billboards, to tv shows, to commercials, to social media.
Here it is:
“This life is all about you.”
“Your goal is to be happy.”
“If you work hard enough, everything will go your way.”
“Life is always fair.”
But here’s the truth: Life Isn’t Fair.
It just isn’t.
I’m not a pessimist, I’m just stating the truth.
Life…well, it just isn’t fair.
For some reason, at some point, we have gotten to this place where we expect life to go according to our plans and our agenda.
And when it doesn’t, we tend to spiral out of control, wondering, “What happened? Surely I don’t DESERVE this!”
And there is the word that threatens to be one of the most dangerous words in our lives.
Chocolate ads convince us we deserve to spoil ourselves.
Expensive jewelry stores are built on the idea that we deserve really nice things.
Websites like Ashley Madison convinced it’s visitors they deserve to have an affair.
So the question is, “What do we really deserve?”
At some point the world began to believe that we deserve happiness, comfort, and goodness.
But as I flip through the pages of scripture, I see a very different message being communicated.
(Matthew 20:1-16, Romans 6:23, Romans 3:22-24, Psalms 73)
The Bible is full of stories of righteous men and women who walked through unimaginable suffering while corrupt, evil men and women lived prosperous lives.
These were “good” people who followed Jesus, yet they were murdered, beheaded, abandoned and abused.
Job, Moses, Ruth, Abel, Elisha, Noah, Peter, Paul, Mary, David, and so many more.
These people are the protagonists of all of our favorite Bible stories…and yet…they each walked through unimaginable suffering, pain, disappointment, abandonment and more.
Did these heroes of our faith really deserve such a difficult life? ‘
With all of the good things they did, didn’t they deserve to be happy?
As we look through scripture we find that many of these people actually asked the same thing.
So, what is going on?
Where was God when these “good” people walked through seemingly underserved suffering?
And, where is God when WE are walking through seemingly underserved suffering?
To truly answer this question we must go back to our original question. “What is it that we really deserve?”
Do we deserve happiness, prosperity, good grades, a great job, a perfect family, or success?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23
Paul, a man who walked through more suffering than most of us could even dream of, tells us clearly and straight forward in Romans what we truly deserve.
We have sinned. We’ve messed up, made a mistake or made a really bad decision.
The penalty of any sin, even a small one, is eternal death (separation from God forever.)
So…we deserve eternal death.
Happiness? Not so much.
A good, nice life? I don’t think so.
So the real question is…if we deserve eternal death because of our sin…why do we even have the option of a happier ending?
Why do we have a free ticket into heaven to be with God forever in a place that is perfect, free from any pain or suffering?
Romans 3: 24-26 (MSG)
“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.
A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.
And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.
Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured.
This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.”
It’s all about Grace.
Grace is our freedom.
Jesus Christ offers us grace.
We DO NOT deserve His grace.
We do deserve death.
But His love for YOU is so powerful, so unexplainable, so sacrificial that it drove Him to incredible lengths to give you the hope of a different future - a future of eternal LIFE instead of eternal death.
His grace is remarkable and His love is unbelievable.
We do not deserve happiness, or a perfect life, or everything we want.
In fact, we deserve a lot worse.
But because of God’s incredible grace we have the promise of a life where there will be NO more suffering.
Not because we deserve it, but because our God is merciful and gracious.
Let's be a generation that sees our life in light of eternity.
Each day, we have the chance to either dwell in the pain, or praise God for the future we know is coming through Him.
This life is a snap of a finger or a blip in time.
Eternity is where we are headed forever.
Set your eyes on your eternal future and rest in the hope of the beautiful life you have ahead of you through the remarkable grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.