The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Is life fair? Perhaps your family refers to you as the “black sheep,” the one who is different from everyone else.
I believed I was born under a cloud. My birth father left my mother when I was two and I didn’t meet him again until I was thirty. It wasn’t until I was six that I realized most of my friends had a father. I couldn’t imagine why anyone needed one of those. I remembered when mine left and he never came back. Being raised by a single mother seemed normal to me—until people asked where my father was. I didn’t know.
Perhaps you can relate to me. Does life seem fair?
From Seventh Dimension – the Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy (in this excerpt, Shale has met her birthfather for the first time, and she asks him why he left her):
Why was this so difficult? I needed to know the truth. I’d try again.
“I used to wonder what it would be like if we met. I dreamed of spending time with you. I didn’t like growing up without a father. Something was missing. I felt like a doughnut with a big hole in the middle. Mother never understood me—and she sure didn’t like you by the time I was old enough to realize everyone else had a father but me.”
—Shale Snyder and Brutus Snyder, chapter fifteen
Life is not fair—in my opinion, most of the time. Bad things happen. No matter how hard you try, things don’t work out the way you think they should.
In my case, as a child, I tried to make sense of why bad things happened. I came to the conclusion that I must be flawed. I believed my parent’s divorce was my fault. I thought people didn’t like me (and bullied me) because I wasn’t likable.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
My daughter was the Level 8 Florida Gymnastics Champion for the vault in 2012. In 2013 during the state competition, the equipment moved when she placed her hands on the vault. She bailed out of the vault to avoid getting hurt. Because she was so freaked out after her first run, she was unable to do the second vault and bailed out again. She scored a zero on the event which disqualified her from competing at the regional meet. If you have ever competed at a high level in any sport, you know how devastating this was to both of us.
Perhaps you’ve spent hours preparing a report and just before you save the final draft, your computer crashes and eats it. You have to turn it in tomorrow and now you can’t. You’re devastated.
Life is not fair, but it’s not because you are bad. If you think you’re no good, you will treat yourself with disdain. Others will pick up on the subliminal messages you send and may treat you disrespectfully. What should you do, though, when life is not fair? How do you not blame yourself for the bad things that happen?
Shale’s life wasn’t fair. It wasn’t her fault that her father abandoned her. She didn’t deserve to be bullied. Her life was a mess—and she knew it deep down. She knew there was something she wanted, something she needed, but she didn’t know what it was.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
It would be easy for me to cite a few Bible verses and tell you to get on with it, make lemonade out of lemons and quit holding pity parties on Saturday night. After all, there’s always someone who is worse off than you. But it would not help you.
Are there things you can do besides feel sorry for yourself?
Try writing down all the things in your life that you’re angry about like Shale told God all the things that made her angry. Better yet, start keeping a diary and jot down your feelings each day.
If you’re like me, you might find it difficult to share your innermost thoughts. Shale was unable to express her hurts and that’s why Much-Afraid, the dog, was important to her. Shale kept resentments bottled up inside. She had no one who would listen to her, no one to confide in—once Rachel could no longer be her friend. She told God exactly how she felt by keeping a diary.
Maybe you don’t hate God but you would like some answers. Sometimes I want answers, too. Why did God allow this or that to happen? Why did my father leave me when I was a child? As wonderful as some adoptive fathers are, melding together as a family can take months or even years.
Have you been honest with yourself and listed several items on your sheet? If not, how can you be honest with God? Believe me, God won’t be upset with you if you do this.
Now take your list and go down each item and give it to God. God knows everything on your list before you even tell him. But there’s something healing about confessing to God the things that frustrate you and upset you.
This is part of building trust in God—that you can go to him, knowing he will understand you when you tell him how you feel.
God wants to have a relationship with you. God never changes. It’s you and me who change. We forget all about God or stay too busy. God is waiting for you to come to him.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
—I Peter 5:7
That means everything that gets you upset, frustrated, or angry. If it’s your family—tell God so. If it’s a teacher, tell God so. If it’s a coach, tell God so. Confess your heart to the Great Physician who cares.
Things may not change on the outside. Your family may not ever understand your needs, and, quite frankly, they may not even care. But when you go to God and confess how you feel, something changes on the inside. You become a different person—a tiny bit, because you have given all that negative stuff inside of you to God. The Holy Spirit, or the Comforter, will come alongside and encourage you, lift you up, speak to your innermost being, and remind you that you belong to Jesus.
You might go to God today and expect him to change everybody and fix your problems, only to discover later that nothing has changed. You soon realize you still have to face your teacher tomorrow or live with your disagreeable family or deal with the rejection of a close friend.
Shale’s world didn’t change when she was locked up in her room for days at a time, but she found solace in her relationship with the king. Your relationship with Jesus Christ will make a difference.
Get out your Bible, dust it off, and start reading. Read the Psalms, written by David, found in the Old Testament. David was a man after God’s own heart and the most famous and best king of Israel. He spent much of his life being treated unfairly by others, but he loved God deeply. Meditate on these words.
Dear God, help me to see others as you see them so I don’t blame myself for things that are not my fault. When I’m angry with someone, I will remember you love me. It is that love that will compel me to lay down my rights to get even or to “prove” I am right.
Help me to remember I am responsible for taking care of myself to the extent of my ability. I can listen to music when I am sad, go for a walk in the woods. sing, keep a journal, and spend time with positive people. I can watch a funny movie or read a good book.
I may not be able to change some things. Please help me, God, to accept those things I can’t change. Please help me to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Help me to remember I am not responsible for other people’s bad choices. I am only responsible for how I choose to react to those choices. Help me to remember I am a child of God and deeply loved by you.
Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension answer many questions teens and even adults ask dealing with hot topics like self-esteem, dating, bullying, abortion, careers, forgiveness, salvation, and deeper theological issues related to the end times and the Lord’s return. Woven into the devotionals are stories from the Seventh Dimension YA Christian Fantasy Series as well as from the author’s life that touch on themes that are important to Christianity and what it means to be born again. Each of the 27 devotionals has a QR code and link to videos, music, and/or books for further discussion and enjoyment.