Read His Words Before Ours!
Friends, to be perfectly honest, as I began writing this study, I chose this question, “Why do evil people flourish?”, and held it in my hands, turning it this way and that, wondering why I was even writing this Journey.
My heart isn’t bent out of shape.
I haven’t lived my life frustrated because evil people seem to get ahead, while good people sometimes can’t catch a break. Really, I’ve never thought much about it…
When I began reading Psalm 37, the prickling in my eyes started almost instantly.
Maybe I do need to remember the truth found in Psalm 37.
Not maybe …
I do need this truth.
I’ve spent much of the past year asking God,
“Why me? Haven’t I kept Your commandments?
Haven’t I upheld Your name?
I thought I was making all of the right choices.
So … why me?
Why does it feel like my life is crumbling around me?”
I keep getting pummeled. Every time I turn around, another disaster hit me square in the face. I held up my hands, bracing to protect myself, but to no avail.
But when I look a little to my right …
“she” has it all together.
“She” has a healthy and whole family.
“She” manages to have a clean house, a perfect body, and a successful husband.
And when I look a little to my left …
“she” has a successful career, plenty of friends,
and all the money to live the lifestyle she desires.
Then, I look down at myself, my hands still shielding my face from yet another blow. I look at my body, which has gained some weight, responding entirely differently than it did to the first crisis I encountered.
I look at my worn jeans, my sister’s shoes on my feet, and my painted hands.
My jeans are worn because they’re the only pair I own.
I wear my sister’s shoes because she died eight months ago and I inherited some of her clothes. My hands are painted because I’m working on my daughters’ Christmas present, a castle I bought second-hand and am painting to make it feel new and special.
When I look in the mirror, I see lines that didn’t exist a year ago, seemingly permanent dark circles, and …
And I see joy.
There, in my eyes, is joy.
People who haven’t faced crisis and disaster are not evil, not at all! And truthfully, none of us travel this life unscathed, especially those who follow Jesus.
Yet, James exhorts us,
“Count it all joy . . . when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
We can count it all joy because we get to experience more fully who God is, even, no, especially, in the darkest of places. Psalm 37 describes our active God.
He doesn’t sit back and watch us suffer and ache.
He is fighting for us.
The Lord upholds the righteous for He is a knowing God; He knows the days of the blameless. The Lord is our help, our deliverer, and our refuge.
Psalm 37:25 makes my heart beat a little faster:
“I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.”
Imagine standing at a coffee bar, filling your cup next to an elderly man. As you begin talking, you can almost see the wisdom dripping from him. He puts his wrinkled, weathered hand on top of yours, and you look into his eyes.
He pats your hand and says, “I’ve been your age, and now I’m just an old chap, but I’m telling ya’, I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for food. The Lord has always provided.” His eyes gleam with unshed tears, his little smile reveals his perfect dentures, and you just know he’s lived a lifetime filled with heartaches and yet here he is, testifying of the goodness of God.
Sounds like a scene from a Hallmark movie, doesn’t it? But it describes exactly what David is doing as he pours out his heart in the psalm to the Knowing, Listening, Present God. David has faced battles, he’s lost children, he’s suffered from the mistakes of his youth,
but he will still declare the goodness of God.
The enemy is crafty and tricky, and an incredibly good liar, and sometimes, it just seems like evil always wins! This world is fallen and broken because sin has destroyed, killed, and stolen life and delight as we were intended to enjoy when God first created. Because of this reality, we will always be hit with shrapnel from explosions happening around us.
In Psalm 37, and many other places throughout Scripture, we are reminded God will not forsake His saints (anyone who’s given their life to Him!).
The best part?
We have the promise of eternity with Him, where evil will no longer run rampant.
Yes, evil flourishes here on earth…
but ultimately, we already KNOW the battle has been won.
We know God has won the battle.
So maybe it feels like evil people will always flourish.
Maybe it feels like we, devoted followers of Jesus who entrust our lives to Him, just can’t catch a break. But the Lord is ever faithful.
Lean in and hold fast because He will never forsake you,
He will never leave you,
and one day,
our success will be our testimony to, and declaration of,
the incredible goodness of God.
Evil flourishes here, but it does NOT have the final victory!
Only Our God holds that!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!