I have four children, each one is precious to me. My firstborn was the first with everything. He was the first child born to our family. The first one we taught to walk, the first one we walked to school and the first one to leave home. He was the “trial run” that paved the way for his siblings.
Our daughter came a little more than 4 years later. She was the easy-going baby who had to enjoy life. She had to stop and look at every flower, laugh whenever her daddy played with her and cuddle close to me at bedtime.
By the time number 3 came around, we were “professional” parents. He was our funny child. He was always ready to laugh and always ready for a game of hide-and-seek. Since we thought he was the last baby, we made sure to enjoy him as much as we could.
Fast-forward 15 years and surprise! We were blessed with a bonus baby. She is our number 4 and has captured us all. She was abandoned in a local government hospital in Malawi where we lived at the time. When we saw her, we knew she was meant for us to raise.
After a long and arduous process to adopt her, she became our daughter legally. Our oldest son made the trip over to Malawi from the States (he had moved Stateside to finish his education by this time) and was with us when the time came to appear before the judge. It was a special day, seeing the first one all handsome and grown, together with this little baby.
Standing there with them that day, I thought, “It’s not fair that little ones like her should suffer, that millions around the world should suffer.”
A Level Playing Field
“It’s not fair!” Is the common complaint of children worldwide.
Fairness, as I have come to define it, is an unseen scale by which we measure treatment. All parents try their best to be fair. However, as all parents know, what is right for one child may not be right for the other. My second-born child never needed a bedtime when she was young because she would fall asleep very early on her own. My oldest, however, needed a bedtime. Without a bedtime, he would stay awake until late and then struggle to get up for school. What wise parents do is give all their children a level playing field where all are given equal amounts of understanding, mercy, and love.
Mercy When We Blow It
God is the Ultimate Parent. He knew that all His children would need unlimited mercy, understanding, and love. In His wisdom He affords everyone the same opportunity and sets us on a level playing field. He gives us mercy when we blow it!
Romans 11:32 ESV“For God has consigned all to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all.”
All of us need mercy, just as our children need mercy when they blow it. All of us have been given the same opportunity to be forgiven by our Heavenly Father. On our individual journeys, it may seem what is happening to us isn’t fair. Perhaps the best way to view it isn’t through the limited lens of fairness, but painted with the broad brush of mercy that exceeds what any of us deserves.
We naturally paint the world around us with our understanding of fairness, of what is right and just. Where we stumble as we interpret our world is judging on the surface by that unseen standard of what we think is fair. Were we to know the entire backstories to those issues we are witness to, it might be that our opinions would change. There is only One Who knows the backstories to all the unfairness in the world. He is the only One Who is equipped to understand it all. I don’t suppose, if we knew even a bit of what He knew, that we would be so quick to see things as “unfair.”
Paint With Mercy
As I am writing this, I can hear baby number 4, who is now 12 years old, laughing while she’s playing with her friend. That we listened to God’s heart to take her in is an image of God painting a life with His love and mercy. You see, it is only through the hands of His children can He extend mercy to others. Imagine if we all, instead of wondering about the fairness of it all, would paint the lives of those around us with mercy.