When Life Seems Unfair
Psalm 73 (The Message)
Does life ever seem unfair? Maybe you have been extremely faithful to God and you are still going through a difficult time in life. Have you ever wondered why others prosper and you seem to struggle? Maybe life seems unfair. Well, just remember, “fair” is a place where you ride the ferris wheel and eat cotton candy.
Sometimes, life is not fair. But remember this: God is not fair as the world defines fair. Remember, though, who God is. He is merciful (Psalm 69:16). He is gracious (Ephesians 2:8). He is righteous and just (Psalm 89:14). God is love (1 John 4:8).
Psalm 73 starts out with the statement “no doubt about it, God is good.” You have to remember and rest in the fact that God is good. When you forget God is good, you will start to entertain thoughts and emotions that question His goodness. The Bible says repeatedly that God is good. In fact, 119:68 says “you are good and you do good.” God rises to show you compassion. He has a heart to do good and sent His Son to die for us. You must settle the issue in your heart that God is good. If not, every time something bad happens or someone else fairs better than you, you’ll question His goodness. He is not out to get you like others sometimes do. He is not trying to withhold goodness or cheat you.
The Psalmist said he almost missed God’s goodness because he was looking the other way, looking at people (verse 2-3). Instead of looking to God in his trouble, he was comparing his situation with others. He was trying to figure out things that were above him. As he starts looking at wicked people, he thinks they are on “easy street”. He says they are arrogant, pampered, overfed, full of hot air, loudmouths that disturb the peace. He can’t understand why they seem blessed and at ease while he is struggling.
He begins to wonder why God won’t intervene. Why does God continue to let these people who don’t serve Him prosper? He was so wrapped up in focusing on others and his own selfishness that he says, “is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store.” He says the wicked get by with everything (verse 12). In verse 13 he said, “I was stupid to play by the rules. A long run of bad luck, a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.” He was at the point of giving up because it seemed that the wicked were better off. “Why bother?” was his motto. Maybe you are saying, “Why do I continue to do what God says and what is right? After all, it doesn’t seem like I’m getting ahead.”
Look at what happens in verse 15. This changed his life. He took his eyes off his problems and others and focused them where they needed to be – on God. He begins to realize how selfish and foolish he has been by comparing his life with others. He had been looking at the world’s standards of success. Verse 17 says that when he entered the presence of God, he saw the whole picture. In verse 21, he realized he was consumed by envy and bitterness.
In verse 23-28, he says, “I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. You're all I want in heaven! You're all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they'll never be heard from again. But I'm in the very presence of God—oh, how refreshing it is! I've made Lord God my home. God, I'm telling the world what you do!”
Have you missed the goodness of God because you have been comparing your lifestyle and circumstances with others? Are you full of envy and bitterness toward others because it seems they are blessed more than you? Does God seem distant and “out to lunch”? He is not. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Remember to “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Stop determining success by looking at others. Look to Jesus. All you have to do is “draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).