Bible Answers: Understanding why life isn't fair

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“Life isn’t fair to me, even if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. What’s up with that?” — Les

This is the heart cry of many of us who believe that “being treated fairly” is, well … only fair. An objective glance at human history and a survey of ongoing, widespread suffering in this broken world, however, confirms the observation that human existence is “naturally” inclined toward unfairness.
Perhaps we ought to be glad that we experience anything good at all.
According to scripture, God had a good plan from the beginning (Gen. 1-2), apparently intending for humans to live in Edenic bliss. We, unfortunately, tend to mess things up (Gen. 3).
Even more disappointingly, when we make good choices and strive to make things better, injustice and pain do not disappear.
Bad things happen, people suffer and we all face death (Gen. 3:19; Heb. 9:27).  
Is there purpose in this? Often there is none we can see clearly — suffering often appears as irrational chance.
Jesus knew this … “the sun rises on the evil and the good; rains come to the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5:45; see also Lk. 13:1-5).
So, we look for words of hope beyond our present circumstances. Paul came to realize that his pain, which never went away despite his pleading with God, served to remind him that God had not abandoned him and God’s grace was sufficient to carry him through the worst (II Cor. 12:7-10).  
When our hearts ache and life seems so unfair, we cling to the promise that God has not abandoned us, that he hears and knows our struggle and that he calls us to press on, trusting him unfailingly (Phil. 3:7ff).
We live in confident assurance that he will one day set all things right (Rom. 5:5; II Cor. 4:16-18; I Pet.1:3-9).