Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for heaven, heaven and home,
When, when Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He;
Oh, oh-oh, his eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches, watches over me.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
Facing pain, discouragement, injustice and hatred is a universal experience. Everyone has an unfortunate encounter with one or all of these situations at some point in their life.
It might be the spouse that openly mocks you for your faith or the boss who continually does what he can to sabotage your career.
It could be watching as your disabled child is bullied and teased for being different. It might be dealing with the aftermath of rape or sexual assault and watching as your community rallies not around you but around your abuser in a show of support.
These experiences can affect your faith in deep and damaging ways. They can leave you questioning what you believe, why you believe it, and if God even cares about your suffering.
You might feel angry at God, betrayed by Him, or even think He let you down. You’re not alone in your feelings and it’s natural to experience them. But working through them in a healthy way is essential to finding healing and freedom.
Why Injustice Challenges Our Faith
You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That means when you see injustice, it angers you. This is a righteous response. It’s normal to be angry and grieved when you see a news story about children being trafficked or when you hear about an innocent man being beaten openly on the streets while bystanders do nothing.
But while you may experience a moment of empathy and deep sorrow for someone you see on the news, it’s different when that story hits closer to home. It’s not just another media segment when it was your daughter who was trafficked. It’s not a comment on the sad state of the world when it was your father who was the one attacked and beaten.
In the moments when injustice happens to someone you love or even to you, your faith can be shaken. You’re left with a million questions and often with persistent lies that can haunt you for decades afterwards. There are four lies in particular that your enemy wants you to believe right now…
It Is A Lie That No One Is in Control
Imagine this: you’re on a flight to another continent. Halfway through the flight, the plane is over the ocean and your seatmate begins to doubt the pilot. He can no longer see land so he’s certain the pilot doesn’t know what he’s doing. He begins to panic, grabs a parachute, opens the door, and jumps out of the plane.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Yet that’s exactly what we’re tempted to do in the face of injustice. You start thinking that maybe God isn’t in control. Maybe He’s fallen asleep at the wheel or that He just doesn’t care anymore. You doubt the pilot because you can only see the water.
But what you have to understand is that your Pilot has already filed a flight plan. He’s already charted the path and He’s accounted for that ocean of injustice that you’re flying over right now. He hasn’t changed. He is still in control of the flight.
In Psalm 103:19, David wrote, “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”
After a season of humbling by the Lord, King Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed, “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35)
God is still ruling from Heaven even when it seems like injustice is winning. He hasn’t fall asleep in the cockpit and He isn’t closing His eyes and taking it easy while your life seemingly spins out of control.
The psalmist in Psalm 121 wrote these encouraging words to those who struggle with where God is right now. “…He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)
It Is A Lie That Nothing Is Fair
Whether you want to admit or not, most of us operate believing that the world should be fair. When it’s not fair, your illusion of control is shattered. Suddenly, it feels like nothing makes a difference. All the time and effort you’ve spent trying to live in a certain way doesn’t really count for anything. Left unchecked, this lie can take root in your heart and lead to anger and bitterness.
But in Matthew 5:45, Jesus says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Both the righteous and the wicked will experience sunny days as well as rain. This isn’t just a reference to weather but to the emotional and spiritual journey we’re on as well.
Regardless of how you’re living your life, you can expect to experience injustice, pain, and sorrow during your time on earth. You will not be spared this difficult reality simply because you are a child of God.
It Is A Lie That There’s No Point To Living A Life That Pleases God
Watching while those who are wicked prosper is a difficult thing. Maybe your boss regularly taunts his employees but continues to get promotion after promotion. Perhaps your child continues to be bullied at school despite your persistent prayers.
When we encounter these situations, it can be tempting to believe that there’s no point in living a holy life. This is one of Satan’s favorite lies to tell you because it so often leads to a spirit of rebellion.
But you aren’t alone in this struggle. Asaph echoed these very thoughts in Psalm 73:13, “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.”
The entire Psalm is filled with despair as Asaph stares at the wicked. However, by the end of the chapter, he’s proclaiming a new truth, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”
In the middle of an evil generation, Asaph was getting discouraged and overwhelmed. But then he makes a new decision—to focus on God.
He starts by thinking of God’s constant presence (it’s good to be near God!). Then he declares that God is His refuge (he’s no longer looking at the wicked but at God). Finally, he decides to speak out about the good God is doing already (I will tell of all your deeds).
In three steps, he shifts from angry and bitter to calm and peaceful. This kind of radical re-route is possible only by choosing a new focus.
It Is A Lie That There Is No Hope
You have a very real enemy who is working overtime to convince you not to bother to show up for the battle. He says, “You have no hope in this situation. Things will never get better. You’ve always struggled like this and you’ll continue to for the rest of your life.”
More than anything, Satan wants you so discouraged and so assured of defeat that you don’t even bother to pick up a sword. He wants to take the victory from you before you even step foot on the battlefield.
The reason he does is this simple: he’s already lost (John 16:33). He can’t change that, but he can do his best to convince you otherwise. That’s why Satan wants you focusing on the injustice and the evil around you. He wants your heart so broken, so weary, and so discouraged that you never engage in the battle.
What do you do in these moments? Do you give into the despair? Are you willing to let this lie have victory over you? Do you choose to go down without a fight? Or is there another alternative?
Take a cue from the Psalmist. He boldly declared, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Did you pay attention to the verse above? Just like Asaph, the writer of Psalm 121 shifted his focus. He stopped looking at his troubles and began looking at his God. That’s hard to do in the middle of the battle. But it’s absolutely essential if you hope to be victorious over injustice.
So How Do You Deal With Injustice ?
Now that you recognize the lies that Satan is shouting over you in the middle of the injustice, you might be wondering what to do next. You know to shift your focus, but you feel powerless in this situation to do anything else. Here’s what to start with…
Talk To God
Oh, it sounds so simple. But when the bottom is falling out of your world and you’re quaking with anger, when you’re watching the wicked prosper or your loved one suffer, when you’re doing without while the wicked eat well, when you feel lonely while another woman goes to bed with your spouse, it’s hard to find anything to say to God.
You don’t have to.
Take a page from the book of countless beggars in the New Testament. Cry out His name. Again and again and again. Like a small child. So often the beggars in these scenes are shown yelling two words, “Have mercy.”
Why? Because God always does. No words touch His heart quite like the broken sobs of his hurting child. He pauses to hear and to heal. He draws close to you, pulling you into the warmth of His holy cloak and whispering, “Shh…Daddy’s here.”
When you can’t change your situation, all you can do is carry on. Joseph did the best he could after being sold into slavery to honor his master. It wasn’t about loyalty to Potiphar.
It was about knowing who he belonged to and honoring God with his efforts. Maybe you’re dealing with an alcoholic spouse that mocks your faith daily, carry on. Perhaps you’re standing alone against a community that’s rallied around an abuser, carry on.
Carry on not because you have to but because God can (and will) sustain you. Let Him be your strength. Let Him carry you through.
In Psalm 68:19, David proclaimed, “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.”
Jesus reassured you that not only are you held securely in the Father’s hand, but that He never lets go of you for no one can remove you from His loving touch.
“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:29-30)
Remember The Cross
The greatest injustice of all time was the death of Jesus Christ. The perfect, spotless Lamb of God was brutally murdered (John 1:29).
The Light of the world was extinguished (Matthew 27:45). The Holy One was cast away from the perfect Father (Matthew 27:46).
In Galatians 1:4, Paul writes, “Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.”
This means that the greatest injustice in all of history was used for God’s glory and your good. Think about that for a moment. The greatest injustice that could ever happen happened.
And it happened for your good. It happened on your behalf.
It was redeemed so you could be set free.
Injustice was used…for your good.
But injustice never feels good.
In fact, it can leave us weeping in our own Garden of Gethsemane, whispering the same prayer as our beloved Savior, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Trust – Five letters that are often thrown around callously by those who mean well but haven’t experienced a soul-crushing trial. Five letters that can leave an already bleeding heart so very raw.
Joseph proclaimed to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
But here’s the little fact so many well-meaning people miss: Joseph could only say that after his trial was over. He couldn’t see anything good in the moment.
But in order to arrive at the place God had called him to, it meant that he had to trust there was a plan unfolding that he could not see.
The truth is you will only have perspective once you’re past this current pain. You can’t see anything right now and that’s completely normal. The important thing is that once again you trust the Pilot.
Cling To Godly Friends
If possible, seek the support of godly friends that will strengthen and surround you. That will hold you up on the days it feels like you’re falling apart. Moses had Aaron and Hur. In the middle of the battle, Moses had to keep his hands lifted. It was the only way that his nation would win (Exodus 17:11).
But he grew weary in the battle and that’s where his support people came in. They guided him to sit on a rock and held him up. The battle still raged but for now, his friends were rallying around him.
Ask God to send you an Aaron and Hur, sweet friends that can walk with you during this trial. They may not have all the answers, but they can strengthen you as you wait to see God’s victory unfold.
No Matter What Is Happening, God Is On My Side
In Psalm 56:9, David proclaimed, “My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!” (NLT)
David didn’t pen these words while living the lap of luxury, surrounded by an army of men that were loyal to him. He uttered this prayer when he had been captured by the Philistines in Gath. If there were ever a moment for panic, this was it.
But David summoned his strength and boldly proclaimed, “God is on my side!”
No matter your battle—no matter how severe the injustice or how long the fight—you can rest on this truth today, soldier: God is fighting with you and for you. He hasn’t left you alone in this war and what’s more, victory is assured.
Before He left the disciples to return to His heavenly home, Jesus gave them these parting words, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
Hold tight to these words, precious one. You are already victorious!