Friday, September 18, 2015

You Don't Deserve this!

The migration and refugee crisis currently dominating the news in all of Europe and beyond is unlikely to go away any time soon. Hungary may have sealed its borders for now, but the flow of Syrians and others fleeing war and desperate danger is unstoppable and will find other ways through to the nations of north-western Europe. Listening to a radio interview this morning from within Serbia, a non-EU country along the route being taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants I was struck by one comment the lady speaking made. With a desperate choke in her voice she sobbed "we don't deserve this!" My heart went out to her and her children as they stumble along the harsh highway from hell in the Balkans.

This started me thinking about the apparent unfairness of life generally. It can seem unbearably so sometimes, and must do today to the countless thousands fleeing misery in this way. Maybe you are feeling like this too. I know that I do from time to time, and it doesn't pay to analyse too deeply how others get along and seem to do so well when one's own load is so heavy to bear. If you have time to read Psalm 73 you will see that Bible writers also wrestled with this issue of unfairness and their words can be a help to us when this problem gets us down.

We don't always get what we deserve in this life. In fact, very few do. The creator of the universe surely had a right to be respected and obeyed by the people he had made when he appeared among them, but they crucified him instead. In fact, when all the furor of the first Christmas died down, the Son of God became a refugee in Egypt. He too was hauled along by terrified parents fleeing the screams of bereaved mothers in the Middle Eastern village where their baby had been born. They had been warned by an angel to get going and took to the road with what little possessions they could carry (not much room there for gold, frankincense and myrrh!). Jesus didn't deserve that, and neither did his dear mother, who might well have been interviewed on the road out of Israel if media had been invented then.

And you don't deserve the pain you are feeling today - neither do I. Yet if I am honest, if I got what I really deserved out of life, I might have been in hell today. In some ways then I am relieved not to get my just deserts! When the load seems too heavy to bear, remember the holy family on the road to homelessness in Egypt and thank God that he knows what you are going through. "Lord, I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterwards you will take me into glory... My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever." Psalm 73:23-26.