7279501“That’s what you get for lovin’ me That’s what you get for lovin’ me Ev’ry thing you had is gone As you can see That’s what you get for lovin’ me.? [That’s What You Get for Loving Me Gordon Lightfoot]

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light” [Ancient Irish hymn, possibly from the 8th Century, tr. by Mary E. Byrne]

Hands up all of you who think that life is fair. Not many of you. And surely not the members of the Walker family. Here is the BBC report on the death of Andrew Walker:

Merseyside Police said that as the couple (Andrew Walker and his girlfriend) waited for a bus outside the Huyton Park pub with Mr Walker’s 17-year-old cousin they were subjected to a “torrent of racial abuse” by a man in his 20s wearing a hooded top.

They did not retaliate to the abuse and left to find another bus stop. But they were followed and, as they walked through a park, they were attacked by a gang of up to four men. Mr Walker’s girlfriend and cousin ran to get help. When they returned Anthony was slumped on the ground with massive head injuries.

An axe was found embedded in his skull.

The Guardian provides more details about Andrew Walker:

Anthony had played in trials for the Liverpool and England basketball teams, but he had built up many other interests in his 18 years. He had the self-confidence to be an Arsenal fan in football-mad Liverpool – the team’s red shirt was draped above the pile of flowers – and he was a very active member of the Grace Christian church in inner-city Toxteth, where he helped at Sunday school and played in the band.?

And he was planning to be a lawyer.

It seems that Anthony’s only crime was that he was black. And perhaps the fact that he had a girlfriend who was white.

The girl friend’s family wrote this poem:

It’s so, so sad, We have lost a lovely lad. Why must Good suffer at the hands of the Bad?”

Why indeed?

The query is not a new one. Throughout history, those who believe that God is a just and loving God have been perplexed by this: Why do the good suffer? And the evil prosper?

It would be so much easier if we didn’t believe in God. Or that we believe that God isn’t loving. Or fair. Or all powerful.

But biblical Christianity believes precisely in those things. We believe that God exists and that He is a God of justice and love. And that He is all powerful.

How then do we square what we believe about God with the axe in Andrew Walkers skull?

The Psalmist in Psalm 73 poses a similar query.

The Psalmist knew his bible. Obey God and you will be blessed. And he had done just that. He had sought to obey God as best he could and all he got for his trouble was affliction.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.? (Psalm 73: 13,14 TNIV)

What was worse was that those who completely ignored God and His ways seem to be getting away with murder.

“They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.” (Psalm 73:4,5)

This apparent injustice almost drove the Psalmist to despair until he entered the temple and saw the true picture. Until he saw the big picture (Psalm 73:16-28).

He realized afresh that the meaning of life cannot be found within history alone. He realized afresh that the story of life is still unfolding, and like all good books, the resolution of the plot is found only in the last chapter.

In the end, those who reject God, those who do evil, will be punished. Indeed life on this earth is short. They may appear to prosper for a season but what awaits them is death and destruction.

But those who love God enjoy God’s presence now and anticipate an eternity of glory with Him.

“Yet 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.” (Psalm 73:23,24).

Unfortunately the presence of God in this life is no Teflon coating from the horrors of a fallen world. God had never promised us that. What He promised was His grace for life in this world (2 Corinthians 12: 1-10) and a joyful welcome to the perfect world to come.

How do we know this is not wishful thinking? Because the greatest injustice of all, the death of Jesus on the Cross was defeated.

The resurrection made it clear that injustice and death do not have the last word.

So as we look at the Walkers of this world, as we look at the injustices we suffer in our own lives, God invites us to look at the true picture, at the big picture.

The apparent victory of evil and injustice is, in the end, a bad dream that will be seen to be ephemeral when Christ returns.

“They (those who do evil) are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you despise them as fantasies.” (Psalm 73: 29)

In the meantime, and sometimes in the midst of tears and confusion, God calls us to courageous faith, to press on towards His perfect ending.

There may be many things we don’t understand but one thing is clear. God has already given us everything we need. He has given us Himself.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)

Your brother, Soo-Inn Tan