I ran my last marathon three weeks after my husband Matthew passed away. I almost canceled but knew he would have been disappointed if I had. So, I ran.

Not long into the race, race officials diverted the crowd of runners to two sides of the course. As I got closer, I saw the problem. A runner had collapsed. I couldn’t believe it. How could I see someone in almost the same situation as my husband, who never recovered? I prayed for him, then thought, “this is my undoing.” As tears stung my eyes, I wanted to put my fists in the air and shout “this is not fair!”

John 5 tells the story of a man, an invalid for 38 years, waiting for a dip in the pool at Bethesda. The problem? Every time he tried to get in, someone else beat him to it.  (Sick people gathered at this pool in hopes of being cured of their illnesses. They believed that the first person to step into the water after it was stirred by an angel was healed.)

Life’s not fair

Life wasn’t fair for this man. He had an opportunity to be healed, but he couldn’t physically get to the pool in time.

Then Jesus approached and asked if he wanted to be well. He answered, “I have no one to help me in the pool when the water is stirred.”

Jesus looked past his complaint and told him to get up, pick up his mat and walk. In an instant, the man was cured. He picked up his mat and walked.

No longer a victim, He just did what Jesus said to do and he left there victorious. Thirty-eight years he endured sitting, waiting, hoping. Can you imagine the joy on his face when he left that day?

How often do we want to cry “it’s unfair?”  

I have a friend whose entire family has been attacked physically – for years. In my opinion, she has every right to complain. But she keeps taking one step at a time, fighting constantly for the health of her family and celebrating the small victories when they come.

A. W. Tozer says “In language, the word unfair seems altogether innocent but it indicates an inner attitude, that has no place among Christians. The man who cries “unfair!” is not a victorious person.

Victorious living

What does it take to live in victory? Certainly, the situation may be too difficult, the pain too great. Or maybe we lack the skill or ability we need to accomplish the task.

All of us will suffer at times. We can complain or we can receive those times without complaint. We can be the victim – or we can be victorious. 

Jesus showed us how. He is our constant. When we’re tempted to say, “life is unfair,” we need to remember Jesus. He never cried in complaint. Never shouted it’s unfair. He just did what he was called to do.

Life will absolutely knock us down at times. Satan still strikes, attempting to destroy us.

But let’s choose to walk in victory today. We can experience this victory because Jesus cares and when the time is right, he will tell us to pick up our mat and walk.

Oh, the result of my marathon? God gave me the strength and courage to move past the pain, cross the finish line and complete the race with my best time.