When Life Isn’t Fair – and What God Should Do About It


We travelled to Ohio for the funeral of Dave’s cousin Myron. Uncle Bert, Myron’s father, had seen more death in his life than was fair. He lost his first wife and an infant son in childbirth and was left with one son and one daughter. Now this son was gone.

We came inside and met Uncle Bert, who turned to his brother Monroe (Pop Slabach) and said, “I’m not bitter, Monroe; but you have five sons and now I have none.”

I will never forget the look of sadness and acceptance on Uncle Bert’s face that day. His son’s work-related tragedy left a widow with two small children. He had every human reason to become bitter, but he didn’t.

When life isn’t fair, we have a choice of two things we can do in response.

There’s one thing God can do.

The first thing we can do is look around and find someone whose life is even less fair than ours – and then start counting our blessings. We can recognize that, for life to be fair, some of the blessings we experience need to go, for there are many others in this world who are not as blessed as we are. We can count the blessings we have, instead of yearning for what we wish we had.

Or (the second thing) we can do is check off the unfair things that have happened to us and start to wallow in the unfairness of life – and of God.

After all, when we try so hard to live for Jesus, when we love Jesus, when we try to do things right and live the way He asks us to, shouldn’t life be fair?!

fairWhy is it that my friends have never experienced a miscarriage – but I have?

Why is it that nobody else’s church has struggles – but mine does?

Why is it that everybody else’s husband understands her completely and caters to her needs but mine doesn’t?


Why is it that people who are living in blatant sin continue to experience blessings of health,

children, or finances when I don’t?

Why is it that she continues to eat desserts, but can lose weight so easily while I follow a healthy diet and lose ounces instead of pounds?


Why has my family experienced more grief and loss than others?

Why is it that a friend’s children all live in the same community while mine are scattered in many states?



Why is it that others, who don’t tithe, continue to receive financial gain while we tithe regularly and are scraping bottom paycheck to paycheck?

Why is it that my sister gets to live close to home where family and friends abound, but I’m stuck out in some far corner of the earth fairbecause of my husband’s job or ministry?

Why does my child have to be the one to suffer from a diagnosis that no mother should ever have to face?



Why is it that, just when we think we’re getting ahead financially, something unforeseen happens and everything we’ve saved has to go toward that catastrophe?




The questions are not new. People have been asking these questions the world over for generations. The names might change, but circumstances and events replay themselves year after year, and each time the questions arise.

We are really no different than others. Just like those who have been here hundreds of years before us, we ask the same question: WHY?

Why? Why? Why?

What should God do about it?

First, we need to recognize that God sees and knows it all. He is not blindsided by anything that happens to you – or to me.

He will, however, continue to be God. That is what He should do about life not being fair.

When I struggle with these “why” questions, I turn to the story of a man called Job, the man who lost all his children, all his cattle, and all his possessions – except for his complaining wife. Nothing made sense to Job, and he voiced his feelings to God.

What God said to Job, He says to us:

Where were you when I built the foundations of the world? 

Where were you when I hung the planets and the stars, when I numbered and named each one?

Do you know the voice of the gazelle, do you know where the hinds’ feet go? 

Have you heard the noise of the waterfall from underneath?

     Who said life has to be fair?

     Who says all your dreams must come true?

     Who says you don’t deserve to suffer or to experience loss?

Oh, my. When I read these words, I am humbled at who I am and what I am expecting God to be just for me.

When life isn’t fair (and especially when the consequences of what happens to us has nothing to do with choices we have made), there is one thing we can do: let God be God.

If I am but clay in the Potter’s hands, then He chooses the design and shape of my life. He chooses what pressure and turning must happen for me to become the vessel He needs. He chooses not to throw away the clay (that’s me) that’s been marred by sin. If my desire is to be used by God in His Kingdom, then I must cooperate with Him as He purges out the self in me to make me more like Him.

He might not send the catastrophe (look at Job),  but He can use those events to chip away at the rough edges of our lives if we will cooperate with Him.

From our human understanding, life just is not fair. It really isn’t. It just is not fair! God never promised that it would be.

He only asks that we recognize Who He really is, and that we allow Him to be God.

Allowing God to be God means that I —

  • choose to accept what has happened without becoming bitter
  • choose to acknowledge God’s power even when He didn’t do what I think He should
  • choose to affirm my belief that He will not allow others to thwart His plan for me
  • choose to believe that God can take chaos and catastrophe and turn them into something beautiful – in His time.

Because He is God, He will keep on being Who He is. In my brokenness and weakness, I need to allow Him to continue to be Who He is. Someday – when Heaven’s doors open – it will make sense, and it will be okay.

pinterest fair


The Thing About a Wash Line

wash line

The Best Thing

The thing about a wash line is that there is nothing, but nothing that feels and smells as good as bedsheets freshly dried on a wash line. There’s nothing like cloth diapers dried on a wash line as well. Especially if you hang them out at night or early in the morning. On both of these, I am a pro.

I confess there are wash days when I’m glad it’s raining because I just don’t feel like hanging laundry out on the line. But most days, I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I’m saving on electricity and the durability of our laundry.

The other part I enjoy is knowing I’m burning more calories and staying more limber from all the bending and reaching as I pin clothes on the line.


wash line

Fragrance and Feel

I’ll wait a week or two to wash the sheets from my  house if I need to. Rain can only last so long, and all the other laundry might be caught up, but the sheets wait for a sunny day.

There’s nothing quite like slipping between wash line dried sheets at night after a full day of work and sweat washed off by a shower.

There’s a softness that’s different from those done in a dryer. It’s a clean softness and one that doesn’t take any softener to create. No specks of knap or pieces of knap from other fabrics – just pure and simple sunshine cleanness.

Back in the day when our kids were all at home, I’d nab one to go with me to the wash line. It was my version of “the shed”. A kid might not have needed a whipping (that’s what it’s called in the south), but he sometimes needed some down time away from the other kids. You can read about that here.

wash line

The wash line became a haven of respite, not just for my kids, but for me. It was one place I could go that didn’t attract my kids like magnets following me. A closed bathroom or bedroom door guaranteed someone would be knocking or needing something. Yet they never bothered me when I was at the clothesline because they didn’t want to be put to work.

wash line

Whites at Night

During the dozen years our babies were in diapers, we used mostly cloth diapers. Travel, Sundays, and special occasions warranted disposable diapers. Other days, I used cloth (which were not nearly as nifty and pretty as they are now, I know).

My diapers were the whitest in the county. I know that because people told me so. My neighbor told me I was the only cloth-diaper-mom she knew whose house didn’t smell like diapers. That wasn’t so much how I laundered them as how I handled them while they sat waiting to be washed.

I won’t bother to do the math, but if you figure six babies in cloth diapers for approximately two years each, that’s a lot of diapers to wash, hang outside to dry, bring in and fold. I only used bleach once a year at the very most.
The clothesline and the dew did the rest.

While others might have shuddered, I often hung my diapers out at night. During summer months, the air was cooler as I tacked diaper after diaper on with clothespins. Dave was in the house with the kiddos and I could flap the cloths to my heart’s content and take as long as I wanted. By morning, the dew and the sun guaranteed removal of all stains, whether they were yellow or brown. By mid-morning, the diapers were twice-dried and ready to come in. (Once from the washing and once from the dampness of the dew).

The Very Best Thing

Even now, there’s something magical about being outside, bending and stretching. It helps me stay limber and renews my mind. It also restores my soul. For there, at the clothesline as I shake out clothing to pin on the line, I find myself sorting out my troubles and praying about my cares.

The blue of the sky and the smile of the sun warms my face and my heart as my soul finds rest in God. Yep, there sure is something about a wash line.








What Moses Lost When He Failed to Hallow God’s Name


The day Moses failed to hallow God’s name brought severe and lasting consequences. Years later, the moment came when God finally said to Moses, “I am done talking about this. You are not going.” It makes me wonder how many times Moses had asked!

You see, many years before this, Moses sinned. The consequence given by God was that he would never enter the promised land.

Years later, Moses tried to barter with God. He said, “What god is there who can do the things that You do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan – that fine hill country and Lebanon.” [see Deuteronomy 3:23-4:1]

God said, “I’m done talking with you about this. You. are. not. going.”

I don’t think Moses asked again.

It’s a long forty-year story, but there is a short version. Moses, the chosen-by-God leader of the children of Israel led those people for forty years all the way from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land. Moses had a personal relationship with God, evidenced by his on-the-mountain experiences. He prayed for wisdom and for the people. At times, he asked God to change His mind about punishing those stiff-necked people, and God did.

Moses had frustrations and doubts and fears. He also charged the people to have faith, to stand still and see God’s glory, and to repent of their sins.

There was one time, though, that he did things his own way. The people needed water, and Moses got water for them from the rock that God told him to use.

God told Moses, “As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water.”

‘Only problem is, Moses didn’t do it the way God told him to do it. Instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it with his staff. Twice.

Moses also  implied that the power came through Aaron and himself. He said to the people, “Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” [see Numbers 20:10]

The people still got the water and their thirst was quenched. The end result (abundant water) was the same, but the problem was Moses did it his way.

Speaking to a rock to produce water from that rock would imply that the power came from God. Striking the rock (twice) with his rod made it appear that the power came from Moses. In doing so, Moses failed to hallow God’s name.

There were consequences. God said to both Aaron and Moses, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel; therefore, you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” [see also Deuteronomy 32:51 and Numbers 20:24; 27:14].

You would think after everything else Moses had done right, God would have relented. He would have allowed him another chance, but He didn’t.

I used to think the punishment was because Moses didn’t follow God’s instructions. I still believe that was part of the problem. However, Moses’ sin was that by not following God’s instructions, He failed to hallow God’s  name before the people. God desired to be acknowledged by His people as their provider of water. By striking the rock (with no mention of God), Moses  portrayed himself as the provider of water.

It’s true that the end result was the same: water to drink from that rock. After all, did it really matter how the water was made to come out of the rock as long as it came?! They got what they needed, right?

It mattered. Oh yes, it mattered.

Moses lost the privilege (after forty years of travel in the desert, leading the bunch of stiff-necked people, and bringing them right to the edge of that land) of entering the promised land.


He never won that privilege back. Moses got to look over into the land. God showed him the land from Mt. Nebo, the mountaintop right next to the land, but he couldn’t go in. Somewhere on that mountain, Moses died and was buried by God.

Why didn’t Moses get that privilege?  God said Moses failed to hallow God’s name. He did not sanctify the name of the most high God.

How many times how we failed to hallow His name? We claim credit for what He does. We think we’ve pulled ourselves up by our own boot straps. We do things our way instead of doing what He tells us to do.

Heaven – our Promised Land – waits for those who hallow His name.



Two Things I Learned From Cleaning Our Room


Cleaning was never on our list of favorites, especially when it came to cleaning our bedroom. I have to smile when I remember how we (finally) found an agreeable way to clean our bedroom. There were six of us in the room, and we had three double beds. It was a  huge 12′ x 20′ room, with plenty of space for beds, dressers, and nightstands.

Our mother, who ran a bread business from the bakery on the floor below our bedroom and slept on the main floor, seldom came upstairs. But when she did – oh my goodness – did we ever need to scramble and begin cleaning!


Our bedroom was not a dirty room. We didn’t have empty bags of food or plates of cold food scraps sitting around. We simply didn’t like to pick up the scattered items. Since there were so many of us, it was easy to expect the next person to do it. If something fell off your bed onto the floor when you crawled under the cover at night, who cared? Someone else could pick it up. Cleaning day would come some day, but not now – that was our sentiment.

Years later, we readily admit how ridiculous it was for us to have such a messy room. The older sisters vaguely remember making piles, but don’t remember how we divided them. The youngest says since she was the baby of the bunch, she was probably just along for the ride and doesn’t remember. Middle sisters remember the time a sister-in-law came home to visit with our brother (her husband) and came upstairs to help us clean our room. Even today, these sisters remember the embarrassment and wonder what was wrong with us that we didn’t care how our room was kept!

The floor of our room was masonite. Painted gray, with many colors of sponge blobs dabbed on top, it did the job and was affordable. The masonite provided us with dividing lines – large squares on which to make piles of things to be put away.

When it came time to clean up our room, we made our beds and swept everything out from under those beds into one huge pile. We divided all the books, magazines, crayons, pencils, papers, combs, brushes, socks, and sweaters onto piles. Six piles, to be exact. There were sure to be books in each of those piles.

There were a lot of books. We had our town library books and books from the school library. We also had our own library in another upstairs room. There were always plenty of books under beds and under the covers. Long-lost, overdue library books made their appearance when we got busy and hauled things out from under beds.

Everything got divided in those six piles.  One pile of stuff per 4′ x 4′ masonite square.


I laugh now thinking about all the time we took to divide everything up so it was fair and square. You see, each pile had to be equal. We’d look at the piles on the floor and decide if we thought they were even. No matter which pile you chose, you had to be willing to take care of that pile and not think someone else got an easier pile than you. If you thought one pile had too many items, you said so, and someone moved a few items from that pile to other piles. We’d shuffle things back and forth from pile to pile, spending time making sure things were even.

After all, none of us wanted to do more work than we had to do, and we were all about life being fair to ourselves.

Once everyone thought the piles were even; once each of us said we’d be willing to clean up any of the piles, the piles were assigned. Each of us took care of putting things on our pile in their proper place.

You know what’s so funny about this now?  We spent more time dividing things so they were fair than it would have taken one person just to clean up the entire mess.

We learned some things from doing it this way.

We learned to weigh the options carefully, to consider “how will I feel if I get that pile?”, to barter and trade until everybody was happy. It didn’t matter that we spent more time to do it this way when the lessons we learned were a great trade-off for the time we might have “wasted”. It mattered not how we cleaned as long as our mother was happy with the condition of our bedroom.

We learned the value of considering, “If the shoe was on the other foot . . . would I . . . ?”

We learned to negotiate and work out our differences among ourselves without needing an adult to guide us through the dividing and conquering.

We knew it had to be done, and we found a way to do it so that everyone was happy.

‘Amazing the things you learn about life from cleaning your room with your siblings as a child.