Today, while the issue being discussed isn't quite the same, it still relates. However, instead of looking at why bad things happen to good people, there also remains the question of why good things seems to happen to bad people.
There is a psalm in Scripture written by Asaph, written during a time when matters in the kingdom were becoming turbulent.
And so I imagine Asaph seeing all that is happening around him and in the midst of it all, he regards:
Psalm 73:1-3, "Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (ESV)
Most of us can relate to his utterances here. We believe in God, that He is sovereign, good and just. That He has a plan... but He just seems a little slow... or apathetic. And while we believe that God is good, we begin to think that what the world has to offer... what sin has to offer is simply... better.
And with this line of thinking comes conclusions like the ones spoken in verse 13:
Psalm 73:13, "All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence." (ESV)
In times when it seems like God isn't moving or doing anything in spite of our struggles, the temporary joy and happiness of the world seems to become more and more inviting. And the resounding "no" to sin and ungodliness that we are called to echo becomes less and less convincing... and we simply wonder whether our walk with Christ has been a waste of time.
Now I imagine some of us can relate or some of us may not. Some of us are better with self control and conviction, unwavering in the faith... and some of us simply find ourselves alone in a room wondering what was the point in saying 'no' to sin and instead of rejoicing in having obeyed God, we simply ask ourselves, "Was it worth it?"
Is it really worth it?
Psalm 73:16-17, "But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end." (ESV)
Until. The revelation of the psalmist. The simple moment of stepping into the divine presence of God.
Psalm 73:21-22, "When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you." (NIV)
The world has its way of playing on our minds. To wear us down until we've heard so many lies, we can'e even discern the truth. We simply become ignorant if we are surrounded by bad company, because we know that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
But when we allow ourselves to enter into the presence of God through fellowship or youth group or Bible study, I've always imagined it as being a moment of complete spiritual rest where Satan is unable to get at us and we can simply allow God to fill us with Him. And as a result, God's will, character and plan becomes clearer and we begin to see Him better.
A previous post spoke more in depth on this (Spiritual Mountains), so I will leave you to read that if you haven't before but the gist of it is that, through Christ, just as Moses entered the glory of the LORD on the mountain, so too can we enter the glory of the LORD each and everyday, allowing Him to fill our minds and hearts.
It should come as no surprise that the world would become more and more tempting with the more time we spend in it and less time we spend with God.
But when we act in such a manner, when the world begins to look more and more tempting, are we simply not looking back? Looking back on our old sinful lives and thinking, "It would be cool to do that again one more time." To simply do something for "old times' sake".
And I'll admit, I've thought this a lot. And for this reason, Christ's words in Luke 9 have hit home many times as I hope they do for many of us.
Luke 9:61-62, "Yet another said, 'I will follow You Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (ESV)
Just as Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt as she looked back on the destruction behind them, so too are those who look back on their old nature as Christians deemed unfit for service in the kingdom of God.
This is the cost of following Christ.
Colossians 3:1-2, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (ESV)
The world may not know better because of the corruption of sin... but we do. And unless our minds are set upon the eternal, they are bound to linger on the temporary and before long, they will linger on sin.
Philippians 3:13b, "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead" (ESV)
May this be a resolution we hold to in our own walks with Christ.
God bless you all.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV