I can think of some times when something happened to me that was neither right nor fair, and all I could do was suffer through it. Perhaps you’ve been there, too, and know the anger and grief injustice brings.
In Terre Haute yesterday, David Scott was freed after spending 23 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Somebody bludgeoned an 89-year-old woman to death and Scott was fingered. Actually, he fingered himself when he falsely confessed to the crime in a horribly misguided attempt to impress a woman. But when exonerating evidence was found a few months after the trial, both a county judge and the Indiana Supreme Court denied a new trial. New DNA evidence finally found the real killer late last year.
Scott, who is about my age, went to prison as I entered college. Since then, I got my degree, got jobs in my field and moved up the ladder, purchased homes, and married and had children. Meanwhile, Scott sat in a cell. What a loss he has suffered. Certainly Scott’s foolishness created his trouble, but the system’s failsafes failed him for over two decades, and so his life languished while mine flourished.
One of the things I learned while studying the book of Ecclesiastes recently is that life often makes little sense and that justice doesn’t always prevail. Those who don’t know the Lord must bear the pain, while those who know Him can find not only comfort, but purpose in their circumstances. And those who know the Lord always have hope.
The apostle Paul spent time imprisoned. I have to believe that Paul experienced anger and grief over his imprisonment; he was human. But knowing that God was in control, he came to accept his circumstances and continued to serve, ministering to various churches by writing letters to them. Three of those letters became books in the New Testament.
What hope can you find, what purpose can God give you, in your adversity?