June 1, 2016

When Life is Unfair

“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.”  Psalm 73:1-3 (NLT)

This Psalm was written by Asaph who was the leader of King David’s choirs.  He’s singing the blues about the unfairness of this life.  Like many of us, he began comparing himself to those around him, particularly those who were better off, yet didn’t serve the Lord.  As he observed their lives and how well they were doing, he began to complain!  In verse 13 he asked himself, “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?  Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.”  In contrast, he described the easy-go-lucky life of the wicked as carefree, painless, and prosperous.  In fact, he said, “These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! … Look at these wicked people – enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.” (Vs. 7;12)

If you’ve ever felt like you got the short end of the stick and life was unfair, then you can relate to Asaph.  By verse 16, Asaph had enough.  He moaned, “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply!”  That’s the problem with comparing yourself to others; it will always trouble you!  But, halfway through this song, Asaph changes his tune!  He went from singing the blues to an anthem of praise and worship!  What brought such a change in melody?  Verse 17 has the answer:

“Then, I went into Your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.” 

It really is amazing how a good worship experience at church can change your perspective, isn’t it?  Something miraculous happens inside us when we meet with God and pour our hearts out to Him.  In the next eleven verses, Asaph gets a God perspective on this life and eternity. His focus shifts from all that the wicked seem to be enjoying to all that God has given him!  In verse 21 he confessed, “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.  I was so foolish and ignorant – I must have seemed like a senseless animal to You.”  If we’re honest, we would admit that we’ve been guilty of the same sin as Asaph. We look at the unfairness of life and begin to envy what others have that we don’t.  Before long, we fail to appreciate all that we do have.  When that happens, we need to do what Asaph did.  Enter the sanctuary of God.  Meditate on His promises and experience God’s presence.  When Asaph did, his focus shifted back to all that God had done for him.  Listen to his song now:

“Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. 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. 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! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.” Psalm 73:23-28 (NLT)

What tune are you singing?