PUCKETT: How to deal with injustice

Somebody said, “Life is not fair, but it is just.” We can deal with the unfairness. Others are more talented, smarter, stronger, etc. We learn to accept those things that we cannot change. Justice is another matter.

Justice will happen, justice will come; it is a matter of when. It is said, “The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.” We have seen it; we have heard of it. We love stories where the underdog comes out on top, but when is it going to happen to us?

All these comments are framed in a belief in God, the Almighty God who created and sustains the universe. You may not believe in God, but hang in there for a while.

It is easy to say that God will work all things out in His time. He will. But what about the pain and suffering in the meantime?

The whole matter of dealing with injustice can be illustrated by the account of a person in the Bible named Hagar. The Bible is God’s book — the God you may or may not believe in. Hagar’s story is in Genesis, chapter 16.

Hagar was an Egyptian slave owned by a couple named Abram and Sarai. They were Hebrews. We do not know how they acquired Hagar, but she was a slave girl, a maidservant to Sarai. Sarai was a wife to Abram, but had not had any children. Being childless was culturally unacceptable. Sarai owned Hagar. Hagar was a slave, so Hagar would do what she was told. Sarai invited her husband, Abram, to bed Hagar in an attempt to make her pregnant, and Sarai would claim the child. Abram went along with the plan. Hagar became pregnant, the child was born, and we would think the childless problem was solved.

Not so. When Hagar became pregnant, Sarai’s jealousy raged and she despised Hagar. Hagar was defenseless; she was a slave, a “victim of injustice.” Sarai ran this poor pregnant slave girl off into the wilderness. Hagar walked along in the hot sun in southern Israel and came to a spring of water where she stopped to rest and consider her future. Hagar had no advocate; her protests would not be heard; her future looked hopeless.

While sitting there in despair, the Angel of the Lord found Hagar. Now, we would think justice will be served; God is on the scene. Those bad people will get their comeuppance! Once again, not so.

The Angel said, “Return to Sarai; submit yourself under her hand.” Hagar did that, and it would be good to say that things improved for Hagar, but things did not improve. As a matter of fact, at a later time, both Hagar and her son were kicked out into the desert to die. Hagar went on to survive with her son. How did she do it?

Hagar had an experience with God that first time in the desert. Hagar knew it was God. She did not rationalize away the counsel to return to her slavery and submit. After Hagar’s encounter with the Angel, she said, “You are the God who sees.” That was enough for Hagar and it is enough for us.

God does not promise us health, wealth, or even peace; He promises us His presence. God does not promise to change our circumstances, but He promises us His grace and He says, “My grace is sufficient for you!” (II Corinthians 12:9). Sufficient is enough!

Dan Puckett works with road team operations at Life Action Ministries in Buchanan, Michigan.

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