Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.  But as for me, I almost lost my footing.  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.  For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  The don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.  They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.  These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.  They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.  And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.  “What does God know?” they ask.  “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”  Look at these wicked people–enoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?  Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

If I had really spoken this to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.  So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.  But what a difficult task it is!  Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.  Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.  In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.  When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant–I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.  But as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Reading this the other day I felt as though good old Asaph was writing from the depths of my own heart.  I couldn’t believe how much I related to someone that lived some 3,000 years before me.

It is easy to become bitter when you are in pain.  I have dealt with pain for as long as I can remember in my neck, managed three years of foot pain that finally came to a head this summer (I get to wear a fashionable boot for yet another month), survived a rough pregnancy/delivery/recovery for all of 2011 and (so far) half of 2012, all  while dealing with a thyroid that can’t make up it’s mind.  I was (am sometimes) bitter.  When I realized I was bitter and needed to do something about it, God was right there with Psalm 50:14.

It grabbed my attention like a baby crying on a plane.  After allowing it to soak in, I knew what I had to do to start down the road away from bitterness.  I sat down and thanked God for each situation that I had allowed to bring bitterness into my life.  I was amazed that I found reasons to be truly thankful for everything I was bitter about.  If you pray with an open and repentant heart, you will be amazed what the Holy Spirit will help you accomplish.  You will be able to see the surplus of good that comes along with the bad.  I know it will not be easy, but my new focus is how I can practice being thankful as a sacrifice to my God who sacrificed it all for me.

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