“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” –Reinhold Niebuhr
The first time I heard that Jesus died on the cross, I was infuriated and demanded that I get to see Jesus right now– a difficult predicament for my mom to solve for her three year old. In my eyes, that just wasn’t fair. As time went on, I began to notice that there were other injustices in the world, and I was particularly unhappy with the ones that applied to me. Why did other kids’ parents let them not wear a coat, or how come they got to buy lunch every day and I was stuck with PB & J, Scooby-Doo gummies, and a Capri Sun? Why did I not get good height genes and why did my older brother get to stay up later than me? The list could go on.
After the thousand and twelfth time I said to my Dad, “It’s not fair!” his response one day hit me hard. He said, “You’re right Jane, it’s not. ” This was a shock for six year old “rule girl” to hear. What do you mean Dad? That’s it? Life’s just not fair and we have to live with that? I learned that the answer was yes. Absolutely. Six year old Jane needed time to marinate with that.
As I have matured though, when I say, “It’s not fair!” I’m coming from a whole new angle. We are told that “All men are created equal.” Sure, we are all equal in the eyes of God, but according to the world, the truth is we aren’t created equal at all.
This May, we will be serving at The Point of Hope Development Center in the city of Tarnaveni, Romania–a primarily gypsy area. These kids live below the poverty level; and most families live without running water or electricity. Gypsies are considered the lowest of the low. Their reputation is that they are liars and thieves, and no one expects them to get good educations or become valuable members of society. Because of this, a lot of gypsy kids drop out of school before grade four. If that’s exactly what their parents did, and society doesn’t see any worth in them, why would they continue? The center exists to show them otherwise–that they DO matter. Point of Hope provides a preschool as well as a before and after school program up to 5th grade to help them understand the value of an education. They are able get a jump start compared to their classmates, and many actually have learned to love school! The kids can also get also hot meals, showers, health care and clean clothing at the center. My heart breaks for these kids and their situations, and I am honored to be a part of giving them hope.
I was born into a family and community that told me I could do anything I set my mind to. My basic needs were always taken care of and I was constantly told how special I am. Why is it that I should be so blessed while others face such challenge? It’s just not fair. The guilt can be tremendous. But is it healthy to live in guilt for the life God gave me? Feeling guilty for something I can’t control? Maybe the blessings He has poured over me for the past twenty years were Him showing me His goodness, and empowering me to change the things that I can. I can’t change where I was born, but I can choose to take it all for granted, or I can choose to give back. I can choose to live selfishly, or I can die to myself every morning and be a vessel for God’s use. I have served in several inner cities in the United States and I am excited to answer God’s call to serve in another country.
When all is said and done, by human standards, we aren’t really created equal but we are all equally loved by an amazing God who wants us to take care of each other. The distribution of blessing and challenges isn’t always fair, but faith helps us stand in the gap.