It’s Not in Vain

Blog_FootprintsBeachI love a man named Asaph. Yes, he lived about 3,000 years ago and no, I’ve never met him. He’s one of the lesser-known writers of the psalms. Lesser, I say, because we all know about King David and tend to mistakenly attribute all the psalms to him. But Asaph had a lot to say. And when it comes to those gut-wrenchingly honest psalms, Asaph’s are just about as raw as they get.

Psalm 73 is one of my favorites. Here, Asaph divulges his struggles, zeroing in on a time when his “foot almost slipped.” He’d fallen into the common trap of envy, though in this case he envied the wicked—not because they were wicked, but because they seemed to prosper in all they did.

Why were those whose hearts were bent on evil so graced with problem-free lives? They did whatever they wanted, hurting whoever they wanted along the way, and yet they lived on, “free from common human burdens.”

Oh, how I relate to Asaph. Sometimes, I echo his lament, “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.”

I echo this, but I know in my heart that Asaph moved beyond that lament as must I. His thinking was mired in despair until he “entered the sanctuary of God.” It was there, he understood.

There is an end to evil. Though it seems to rise triumphant, it will not prevail, nor those who revel in it.

An eternal perspective transforms our narrow, earth-bound perspective. It elevates our thinking, to remember, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The things of the earth are fading, falling—a mere chasing after the wind. But it is NEVER in vain to pursue the things of heaven while here on earth. Because there will come a day when we will finally see eternity. And it’s gonna be worth it.

“Life will always seem unfair when we measure it by earthly standards of health, wealth and power. But when we encounter God in a personal, intimate way…we can gain a heavenly perspective. We’ll begin to see the other part of the picture—that the rewards of this life are temporary and, as a matter of fact, can even hinder us from discovering what is truly important.” (Philip Yancey & Tim Stafford)

 

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