Years ago, a Jewish rabbi, by the name of Harold Kushner, wrote a book entitled Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. His young son had a degenerative disease, that caused his body to age rapidly, and to die in his early teens. He wrestled with the problem of innocent people suffering, and why God allowed those kind of things to happen. We could not agree with his conclusion, but he voiced feelings all of us have probably felt at one time or another.
There is another problem that we all may struggle with on a more regular basis — “Why Do Good Things Happen to Everyone Else?” We wonder if God does not love us as much, as the people that have the nice farm … the big house … the new furniture … the new car or truck … the new bass boat … and the list could go on and on. The question almost becomes: “does God appreciate my righteousness, and the things that I do, and the sacrifices that I make?”
Psalm 73, the psalmist details his problems with God is blessing evil, sinful people, and not him. Our problem may not be with sinful people having nice things, but it may be that we don’t understand why other Christians have more than we do!
I am going to tell you about a struggle that I have had. 35-40 years ago, when I started a journey in the ministry; I just knew that I would preach for a large church, write a few books, and be a known speaker on the different lectureships and workshops. When those didn’t happen, I began to be envious of those that had that success — and wonder “why” them, and not me.
Some of these passages in Psalm 73, nail me right between the eyes. Listen to what the psalmist has to say:
Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? (Psalm 73:13, CSB)
When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was like an unthinking animal toward You. (Psalm 73:21-22, CSB)
When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary. (Psalm 73:16-17, CSB)
I am ashamed of my struggle. I am ashamed of my desire for personal success, and the sinful pride that was behind it. It hurts to admit those feelings, BUT, I would be surprised if I am the only one that has ever had those feelings. May my confession be an encouragement to some else. But listen to what else the psalmist has to say, and the lessons that I pray that I am anchored to, at this point in my life.
Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart may ail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26, CSB)
But as for me, GOD’S PRESENCE IS MY GOOD. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do. (Psalm 73:28, CSB)
May God help us all, but on this morning , especially me; make His Word, His Presence, and His praise the very center of what we are all about. May we learn, sooner rather than later, that it is all about Him, and not us. Peace
This was first posted on Facebook on July 20, 2016. It is being reposted here, as a part of our “Psalms on Saturday”. I apologize for not having it posted on Saturday, but for a variety of reasons, I got behind a couple of days this week. Look tomorrow evening for our weekly “That Was the Week that Was”. It is my prayer, that this blog post today will be a blessing to you. Bill).