Life is filled with problems. Often unexpected ones. And while I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist, there is no doubt that we all will be blindsided by at least one major catastrophe in our lives. And many little problems too.
I think this economic recession is an example. I never dreamed that stores like Circuit City would fold. And when I drive around town I am shocked by the number of empty office buildings. Each one of those office buildings is a dream that’s been shattered.
These shattered dreams, though, allow me to find comfort in the Bible.
I know that sounds shocking. But stay with me for a minute – the Bible is filled with stories of people being murdered, sold into slavery, invaded, and generally run out of town. There are entire books of the Bible devoted to stories of suffering and pain. You can’t read for very long without noticing it.
Have you ever wondered why the stories don’t hold back? Have you ever wondered why there are stories of people railing against God in their anger and despair? Stories of people questioning why God isn’t showing up as their dreams are being torn apart.
It’s because the Bible is filled with real people and real pain.
And so as my dreams are crushed, I can find comfort in the pages of the Bible because I know I’m not alone. I know that what I’m experiencing other people have as well. I know that they were able to trust God no matter how hard it got and I can too. After all these years the Bible remains as relevant to us, as it did to the original audience.
This is why the Psalm 73 really hits home. Asaph (the writer) has been where I am. He sees that while he struggles people who go along ignoring God seem to be rewarded. He’s noticed that even when you do the right thing, you sometimes end up worse for it. But he also realized that if he trusted God, in the end, he would be all right. As close as Asaph was to the brink, he held on:
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”
(Psalm 73: 2-3)
If God was faithful to him, then I am reminded that God will be faithful to me. And so I hold on no matter how close to the brink I get.