Tough times come due to a whole host of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to our own actions. For instance, if we are wasteful with our money or don’t think through a financial situation we should expect to come into financial hardship. However, there are times when we go through a rough spot and it isn’t due to anything we do. Sometimes life is unfair. For instance, consider what happened to Daniel:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. – Daniel 1:1-4, ESV
If that wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t too much longer when Nebuchadnezzar ordered the death of all the wise men, to include Daniel and his friends. Nebuchadnezzar was trying to find out what his dream meant. However, he wasn’t going to get taken in by telling his advisers the dream and then having them come up with an interpretation. If they truly had the capacity to understand the dream, then they would know the dream without his telling of it. Of course, that was humanly impossible. This is how Nebuchadnezzar reacted:
Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. – Daniel 2:12-13, ESV
We know that Daniel and his friends didn’t know what happened because the following verses tell us that Daniel went to the captain of the guard to understand why such an edict had been passed. Life had already been incredibly unfair to Daniel and the other exiles who had been forcibly taken to Babylon. This compounded the unfairness.
Yet Daniel did not lose hope. Instead, Daniel continued to rely on God, continued to believe that God would be with him. Daniel knew his life being turned upside down wasn’t the result of a personal sin issue. He could have gotten angry at God as some folks do. After all, Daniel could say that he hadn’t done anything to deserve the bad situations he found himself in. We see none of that indicated in Scripture. Instead, we see Daniel calmly handling each situation, putting God first, trusting God, and moving forward. Daniel stayed strong not because of anything special about Daniel, but simply because he found his everything in God. The Bible records Daniel’s example because not only did Daniel weather these unfair happenings, but he sought to glorify God in them. With the exile Daniel was able to show the mighty power of God’s way to the chief of eunuchs. With the dream Daniel would even cause the king to bow down and acknowledge Daniel’s God as “God of gods” and “Lord of kings.” Daniel would then be elevated by Nebuchadnezzar over all of the king’s advisers and Daniel’s example would be visible to all the advisers, meaning God would be glorified to them.
Is life being unfair? If it is, ask yourself, “How can God be glorified through it?” Also ask what’s stopping you from relying and trusting on God in the situation you find yourself in. Now there is a difference between relying on God and abdicating all responsibility for your life. The Bible doesn’t support the second position. God still expects us to attempt to live a life of excellence. He still expects of us to do the best with what we have. However, when we reach our limits, He expects us to rely on Him. Therefore, this is the formula to staying strong when life is unfair: we should seek to glorify God by doing the best we can with what we can control and leaving to God what we cannot, trusting that our God is good and that He will do what is best.