Do Not Be Grieved
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
The psalmist’s heart is grieved and his spirit embittered, not by external afflictions but by a corrosive envy of others, which is a source of alienation and frustration. He says that his own heart had become impure because “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).
The psalmist also says that the wicked seem to be rewarded in this life, raising the question of justice. “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills” (vv. 4–5). Who has not wondered about the purpose of life when they see the wicked prospering? But then the psalmist has a revelation from God that reminds him that, while his ways may seem inscrutable at times, God holds those who are faithful by their “right hand” and will not abandon his children. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (vv. 16–17).
When the Holy Spirit enters our hearts, we begin to see with our own eyes God’s wisdom in the words of Christ: “Pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:44–46). We are called to live in the power of God’s love.
When we do, envy and frustration evaporate, and our lives become characterized by the fullness of God's grace.
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts