Within the last few weeks, we had the opportunity to spend time with each of our kids individually. Our 7-year-old son attended a birthday party on a Friday night. My first reaction was to hunker down at home – a simple night in! But it was family night at the local children’s museum, and I knew the 3-year-old would love it. Is it fair for us to do family night without our son? Yes, we decided – it is definitely fair and a wonderful chance for the younger sister to get rare one-on-one time with mom and dad! It turned into a special, fun evening!
Then the very next day grandma and grandpa took our sassy 3-year-old for two nights away. My initial reaction when they suggested to bring her along was disbelief. Really? You really want to take her?! (She can be a lot of work!) But they did take her, and we had two whole days with just our son. Strange to all of a sudden be responsible for only one fairly self-sufficient child!
We really enjoyed this time with him. We played card games that little sister would normally destroy, watched Episode III of Star Wars which would have been completely inappropriate for a 3-year-old, and frequented restaurants instead of dining at home – just because we could!
They both had unique and fun experiences with us, yet neither seemed envious of the other. (To be honest, I think they missed having the other around!) I was really thankful for this. It would have been easy for them to complain, thinking they had unfairly missed out on something or wondering if we perhaps favored one child over the other.
My husband is a teacher – he works with kids every day. So he will often utilize the “fair isn’t always equal” lecture with our own kids. (With a teacher for a dad, and a Type A rule-following mother, those two kids are in for years of lectures and nonstop parental quips of wisdom!) We adults need to hear this message too. Fair isn’t always equal! This applies to our everyday lives as employees, parents and consumers – and I think could apply to our faith life.
We desire to know we are uniquely loved by God. Yet we see God at work in other people’s lives and wonder why God isn’t present in the same way for us!
This friend has been gifted with the ability to speak boldly about faith and is easily able to show empathy for others. I am severely lacking in both – does God not want to use me as much as her?
OR – This family seems to have everything going for them, but we can’t seem to get out from under our problems. Does God love them more than us?
Our knowledge of a loving, creator God gives us the answers to these questions… “God shows no partiality.” (Romans 2:11) “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” (John 3:16). That famous verse says “the world!” God gave His Son for all – not just for the people in the world for whom God finds favor!
But our tendency to apply components of human relationship to relationship with our God leads us to think – “It’s not fair!”
God does love each of us uniquely, and equips us to do His work in varying ways. As siblings often do, we may feel that human urge to compare ourselves to another. But it would do no good! If we freed ourselves from this need to compare, then we might more richly experience the love and presence of our God in each moment! Fair isn’t equal! But God loves us all!