Why Injustice in the World?
How can we explain why there are so many injustices in the world? Why are there so many inequities on this earth?
We can all look out on a world where there are many differences and inequalities between people. The per capita income of some people on earth is $20,000 a year in some developed countries, while the per capita income of others is $1,000 or less a year in some of the third world nations. In some African countries, the life expectancy is 45 years, while in Japan the expectancy is over 80 years. Some countries provide free schooling through the high school years, while in other countries, the poverty-stricken citizens must scrape up enough money to pay for the education of their children.
Continue to think with me. A certain smoker may live in robust health and die at 80 years of age, while a non-smoker may develop lung cancer and die at age 50. One person may have an IQ of 140 and have an easy time with his education, while another person may have an IQ of 75 and barely pass from one grade to another. One wage-earner may earn a salary of $100,000 a year, while another family may earn minimum wage and only scrape by on $15,000 a year. One family may live in an eight-bedroom home on the golf course, while another may live in a tiny three-room dilapidated shack in the slum of the city. The contrasts could continue to be cited.
We may not be able to fully understand why these great contrasts exist. Something in us says that it is not right, not fair, and not proper. We say that it is unjust and unfair for whose who are sick, poor, diseased, and persecuted. How can we live with this perplexing situation?
I must confess that this sort of question has again and again come to my mind and I just dont have the final word on it. But God does know. While we may not have the answers in ourselves, we can depend on God to give us at least a few hints on a resolution of this dilemma.
First, we know that we live on a cursed earth (Genesis 3:17-19). This curse will not be lifted until we enter the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1-2; 22:3). This fallen world is subject to futility and this is seen around the globe (Romans 8:19-25). While we live here, the effects of sin will mean that some people will live in abject poverty, disease and oppression. This we must endure until Christ destroys it all and allows His faithful children to enter that new earth where righteousness dwells (see 2 Peter 3:10-13).
Second, God sometimes allows great tragedy for His own purposes. At the time of Job, many parents didnt lose their children, didnt suffer the loss of their herds and flocks, and didnt suffer the pains of a dreadful disease. However, Job, who was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1:1), experienced all of this loss and suffering. It didnt seem fair. And this unfairness was keenly felt by Job. It is described often in the interaction between Job and his friends (chapters 3-37). Neither Job nor his friends knew of the earlier encounter between God and Satan described in chapters 1 and 2. It all seemed so unfair for a righteous man to suffer like this. How could God allow this? This is the problem that Asaph also wrestled with in Psalm 73. Only when he was able to see the spiritual and eternal perspective of the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous could he see the situation from Gods perspective.
Three, when we see so much suffering in the world, including the poverty and sickness and persecution of certain people, we can know that God has something higher and nobler in mind than what we can see. Maybe God is trying to get the attention of those who suffer, determined to allow great pain and heartache so that they might be brought to repentance and the freedom of forgiveness. In the case of the Christian, God may have the desire to grow the blessed fruit of the spirit in his life. We know the encouraging promise of Paul: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God can bring discipline or chastening into the believers life so that he might be led to holiness (Hebrews 12:10) and righteousness (v. 11).
Four, as we view the inequalities in the world, we can know that God has allowed it for some good reason. He doesnt always tell us the reason behind His action or lack of action. Scripture says, The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29). While He may not tell us why he allowed one baby to be born with AIDS to immoral parents in a destitute village in an African country, and another baby to be born with excellent health into the lap of luxury in a wealthy suburb in America, but we know that God knows all about this. And we must allow God to be God and do what He wills.
Finally, maybe God allows injustice in the world so that we may raise our eyes to something better in the future. People have encountered so much pain, suffering, rejection, and sickness, that they long for an eternal rest with God. They become homesick for heaven when they see the misery of their earthly circumstances. They are driven to find comfort in Gods wondrous promise: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away (Revelation 21:4). The unjust grief and sorrow here can only be comforted with the thought of future fulfillment and bliss with God!
Years ago, I read James Dobsons book, When God Doesnt Make Sense, and Philip Yanceys book, Disappointment with God, a book on Job. Neither of the authors was able to fully answer the question of suffering in life. But they pointed out that we must trust in God regardless of the inexplicable situations we may encounter. Ive had to do this many times in my life. There are many trials that I simply cannot comprehend, but I know that God know and this is a comforting thought. In the words of Solomon: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Lets trust in the Lord when we cant understand!