Summary: When life is unfair, put your faith in the Lord; be faithful to Him; and if things get worse, keep your faith in the Lord. Don’t stop trusting the One, the only One, who is absolutely trustworthy.

One of my favorite stories, which I’m sure I’ve told before, is about a young paratrooper who was learning to jump. He was given the following instructions: First, jump when you are told; second, count to 10 and pull the ripcord; third, in the unlikely event that it doesn't open, pull the ripcord for the backup chute; and fourth, when you get down, a truck will take you back to base.

The plane ascended up to the proper height, the men started peeling out, and the young paratrooper jumped when told. He counted to 10 and pulled the cord, but the chute failed to open. He proceeded to the backup plan. The second chute also failed to open. “Oh boy,” he said. “When I get down, I suppose the truck won't be there either.” (

Life doesn’t always go as planned. In fact, sometimes it is downright unfair. So what do we do in those times? What do we do when things don’t happen the way they should? What do we do when our plans and dreams are dashed against the ground? What do we do when life is unfair?

Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 39, Genesis 39, where we see how Joseph handled himself when life was unfair to him.

Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. (NIV)

Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery, and he ends up as a slave to Potiphar – “the captain of the guard” or Pharaoh’s chief executioner.

Genesis 39:2-6a The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. (NIV)

Joseph succeeded, because God was with Him. I’m sure he faithfully carried out the duties assigned to him, but his success is not attributed to his hard work or ingenuity; his success is attributed to the presence of God Himself. Verse 2 – “The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered.” Verse 3 – “The LORD was with him and… The LORD gave him success in everything he did.” Verse 5 – “The LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.”

The LORD was the reason for Joseph’s success, and He is the reason any of us succeed at anything. Jesus Himself said to his followers, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). On the other hand, He says, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Any fruit we bear, any success we enjoy, comes from the Lord as we remain connected to Him. So when life is unfair…


Get connected to Christ and depend on His presence in your life. Trust God to give you success as you pursue His will for your life. It’s the only thing that will keep you going when life knocks you for a loop. In fact, your faith in Christ is the only thing that will help you do better than your best even when life is unfair.

You see, when we have been unfairly treated, we’re tempted to give up, or to get by with the very least we can do. We’re certainly not encouraged to give life our best effort when we have been wrongly treated. But when our trust is in the Lord, like Joseph, then we can serve people well wherever we are.

Three years ago (2008), Chris Downey had just started a promising architectural job at a successful design firm. A few weeks after he took the job, he noticed that there was something wrong with his vision. The doctors told him he had a tumor wrapped around his optic nerve, which required immediate surgery. After the surgery he could see with blurred sight, but five days later everything went dark. Downey had become permanently blind.

Downey tried to maintain his architectural work, but he couldn't read the plans or use the design software. Initially, Downey's limitations jeopardized his job, until he found a blind computer scientist who had devised a way to read tactile architectural plans. Much to his surprise Downey discovered that his blindness actually gave him a unique way to “observe” interior spaces – not with his eyes, but with his fingers. As one of the company vice presidents would later say, “At first I thought, Okay, this is going to be a limitation. But then I realized that the way he reads drawings is… the way we experience space.”

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Royce Ellison

commented on Jan 30, 2016

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