When Life’s Not Fair

Have you ever wondered how come you can see people who aren’t even serving God yet everything seems to be going great for them?  Then you here you sit and you’re living for God doing the best you can to follow His ways and yet, it seems like nothing’s going your way?  What’s up with that?  Well, if you’ve asked that question (like I have) you’re we’re not alone.

The other day I read a Psalm that told me this is an age-old question.  Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73 asked the same question.   Why do the wicked have it better than I do?  Now, don’t skip any of this.  You have to read the whole thing.  It’s good.  And pretty self-explanatory.

Psalm 73 – A Psalm of Asaph (NLT)

Truly God is good to Israel,

to those whose hearts are pure.

But as for me, I almost lost my footing.

My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.

For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  (Here’s where it starts going bad for Asaph.)

They seem to live such painless lives;

their bodies are so healthy and strong.

They don’t have troubles like other people;  (But really. Is that possible?  #perception)

they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.

They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.

These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  (This envy business isn’t doing Asaph any favors)

They scoff and speak only evil;

in their pride they seek to crush others.

They boast against the very heavens,

and their words strut throughout the earth.

And so the people are dismayed and confused,

drinking in all their words.

“What does God know?” they ask.

“Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”  (Wow!  What a question!)

Look at these wicked people –

enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

 

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?

Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  (Isn’t that the way we think?)

I get nothing but trouble all day long;

every morning brings me pain.  (Asaph is having a really bad day.)

 

If I had really spoken this way to others,

I would have been a traitor to your people.  (Sometimes it’s best we don’t say what we think)

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.

But what a difficult task it is!  (at least he’s trying to understand – that’s in his favor – big time)

(now here’s where it all changes – if you’ve ever had life’s-unfair thoughts like Asaph – do what Asaph did)

Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,  (Smartest thing he could’ve done.  God’s presence is where the answers are.)

and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.

In an instant they are destroyed,

completely swept away by terrors.

When you arise, O Lord,

you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.  (nobody thumbs their nose at God and gets away with it – God is just)

 

(Now, here’s what happens when you get into the presence of God, tell Him your issues, then wait)

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, (ouch!)

and I was all torn up inside.  

I was so foolish and ignorant –

I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  (We can gripe about how unfair life is all day long but when we take our complaints to God and truly seek to understand, like Asaph did, God turns his light on our own hearts and shows us how foolish we can be.  Bitter and foolish is what we become when we get our eyes off of God and onto others.  Not pretty)

 

(After God works us over and we get our eyes back on him, thankfully, He doesn’t leave us in our pathetic state)

Yet I still belong to you;

you hold my right hand.  (Yes he does!)

You guide me with your counsel,

leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in Heaven but you?

I desire you more than anything on earth.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,

but God remains the strength of my heart;

he is mine forever.  (We just become a humble puddle in God’s presence.  He’s so kind to guide us.  To give us counsel.  To give us strength and to let us know that we are still his.  Thank you, God for your mercy and grace!)

 

Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! (There’s no place I’d rather be!)

I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,

and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

 

I know it’s hard when it seems like those who don’t follow God are prospering while you’re struggling.  But it does us no good to to be envious of others.  We don’t truly know what’s going on in their lives.  And our focus shoudn’t be there anyway – at least not outside of sharing the love of Jesus with them.

Let God deal with them.  And you listen to Him as He deals with you.  He’s not forgotten about you.  He will reward your faithfulness.  He will come through for you.  He will guide you and provide for you.  Just keep your eyes on him and stay faithful.

“God is not a man that he should lie; or son of man that he should change his mind.  Has he said and will he not do it?  Or has he spoken and will he not make it good?”  Numbers 23:19 (ESV)

Photo by Steven Yeh

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