The age old question for those who follow after God and his Son is: “Why do evil people thrive and succeed and the righteous seem to suffer?” As a new believer in my twenties, I found Psalm 37:4 and it told me to delight in God and he would give me the desires of my heart. But in the verses preceding this one it says:
Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
How does a believer trust in the Lord and the good living as secure people in a crooked and perverse world? As I was driving and praying on Sunday I noticed on the left side of the highway as I headed north a bunch of dark storm clouds approaching over the Ohio hills. On the right side of my car over the state of West Virginia, a blue and cloudless sky. It was if God was reminding me like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyon, we travel the same road towards the Celestial City we call Heaven. Like Christian, when we get our eyes on different circumstances and evil people, we lead ourselves farther away from God. The answer is knowing where to put my eyes. The God who stirs up the whirlwind is the one who sends the gentle breeze soothing a sweat-filled brow. The God who sends the tumult of a storm is the God sending gentle rain waking sleeping plants from their winter’s nap.
If we focus on the actions, activities, and successes of those who flaunt God’s reign, our attitude becomes angry, bitter, and maybe even jealous of their success. We wonder why God allows them to prosper and the righteous to suffer. In doing this, we forget what verse three says: Trust, Do, Live and Enjoy!!! Those who practice evil will dry up like the spring grasses of Israel hit by the dry winds which shrivel up the grass and flowers. If we trust in his provisioning, does it REALLY matter what the evil person gains? If we are doing good for the purpose of the Kingdom, should it PREVENT our joy by continuing to follow his plans? If we are envious of the successes of evil ones, are really ENJOYING the life he has for me?
Thirty years ago my desire was to be the only Mentzer family member to graduate college. I had no awareness of His plans for me. If I had just kept my eyes on the financial rewards of the unbelievers around me, I would never know the joy of serving him. My desires have changed from personal desires to what he desires. I am not going to worry about the storm clouds which will come because I am trusting in the one who controls it all.