May 1, 2024

“God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction.”—Psalms 25:8 (MSG)

Early Lesson

As a high school freshman, I sat in my wooden armchair desk anxious for our science teacher to hand back our tests. I knew I had done well on this one. Probably even gotten a 100%.

From as far back as I can remember, getting good grades was important to me. I loved to excel, even at the cost of studying hard. And I had done just that before this exam, so I was prepared for what I was confident was coming.

As Mr. Hamm passed by, I stuck out my hand to receive the good news. I took a breath before unfolding the paper to reveal my reward for diligence.

Teach moved down the row dispersing what might not be such good news to my not-so-fortunate fellow classmates. Well, not bad news for all of them. Shirley Potter seemed to never get anything wrong. But this time I knew I had equaled her. All right!

I unfolded the test. WHAT???

A big red ink mark slashed through #4. This had to be a mistake. And not one I had made, obviously.

I read question #4: Where in your home is the best place to read and study?

I read my answer: Sitting at my kitchen table.

So what was wrong with that? That’s where I studied because I had great light over my shoulder.

I raised my hand. “Mr. Hamm, why did you mark this wrong?” I lifted my test and pointed to my right answer.

He shook his head. “You didn’t answer it correctly.”

“Yes, I did.”

“No, you didn’t. The answer is: Where good lighting is above and over your right shoulder.

“Well, that’s where I study in the kitchen. There’s a wall lamp above and behind to the right of where I sit at the table. It gives the best light, and I have the table to write on. It’s perfect.” Like my answer, I thought. No, not thought. Knew!

“Besides,” I continued to salvo, “the question asks ‘Where in your home?’” I patted the test paper for punctuation. “I wrote where in my home.

Teach shook his head again and walked back to sit behind his desk. He wasn’t buying my right answer.

I silently fumed. Crossing my arms, I refused to listen to anything else he had to say that day.

That was about sixty years ago, and I still remember the unfairness of it all. Although the fuming has subsided.

Life Isn’t Always Fair

Today, now that I am much older and wiser, I realize learning the lesson that life isn’t always fair was great preparation for everything else yet to come. And everything else yet to come definitely has not been me doing 100% of everything right or even when I did, not 100% of everything worked out like I expected.

And so, over the years God has helped me learn to accept what is, even if things are “unfair.”

The Lord has also taught me that He is always fair. And further, as Psalms 25:8 promises, He justly instructs and sends me in the right direction. Thank heavens.

With what unfair situations are you still struggling? Will you let go and let God instruct you and send you in the right direction for peace?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord for helping me accept what is when I cannot change things. But more importantly, thank you for helping me accept when I can change things and then empowering me to do so. Further, thank you for encouraging and equipping me to speak up and help others when unfairness or evil envelopes them.

Thought for the Day: Accepting that life is not always fair helps us move forward and helps us to be much stronger and wiser in the bargain. Helping others move through unfairness helps us both.

P.S. 

In my newest book, a short story collection of historical fiction, The Innocents at Home—Children of the 1940s, I reveal what it must have been like for children to endure the happenings of this decade. While the characters and narratives are fictional, the stories are inspired by actual events and circumstances of this era.

In the 1940s children were to be seen and not heard. Until now. Here are The Innocents at Home. Here are their stories of war, internment, polio, tuberculosis, bullying, prejudice, faith, love, resiliency, overcoming, and normalcy amid the abnormality of childhood during this decade.

Hear their voices.

The Innocents at Home: Children of the 1940s by Mary Stone

If you would like to order, here is the link:

The Innocents at Home: Children of the 1940s: Stone, Mary Ellen: 9798988886365: Amazon.com: Books