“The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked” (Psalm 146:9).
Today’s verse makes me nervous and uncomfortable. Our passage asserts several things:
- The LORD watches over the foreigner
- The LORD sustains the fatherless and the widow
- The LORD frustrates the ways of the wicked
The reason why I find our verse uncomfortable is because I see plenty of evidence of the contrary all around me.
- Foreigners are having a hard time. Hate crimes against Asians in the US have increased exponentially
- The financial burden of the Covid pandemic is being borne by the poor. The fatherless and the widows are not being sustained. Many are struggling to make ends meet
- The ways of the wicked are not frustrated. In fact, the wicked and the ungodly seem to be winning the day
What are we supposed to do with all of this?
There are two things we need to keep in mind:
- Perspective matters
- Suffering is not a problem to be solved but a condition to be mourned
- The issue for us is that we see only what is right before us. It is true that there are many who are having a difficult time. But it is also true that there are many who are being upheld and supported by God through good people. There is good happening all around us
- If we were to take a snapshot of a woman in the pangs of birth, that snapshot would never give the overall perspective of how much joy there is in the birth and the life of a child. In fact, that snapshot would be the opposite of how precious and wonderful the birth of a child is
- We see in snapshots. God sees in eternally. God’s promises are true. God will judge. God will sustain. And thank goodness for that. Evil should be punished and vanquished. And it will be. In time. In eternity.
- Perspective matters
Suffering is not a problem to be solved but a condition to be mourned
- Suffering is as much part of human existence as joy and happiness are
- As long as there is free will, human beings will do atrocious things. And as long as human beings are sinners, suffering will be a part of human existence
- That sin has so marred God’s world is to be mourned and lamented
- God has overcome sin and darkness of the cross. And when Christ returns evil will be judged and vanquished
- Until that time, we live in a world where suffering is as much a part of human existence as joy and happiness
- This is what it means to be human
The psalmist is able to affirm “The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked” because the psalmist sees the world through the lens of faith instead of taking snapshots. This is the perspective of faith.
Are you going through a tough time? Mourn. Lament. And have faith that God is at work.
Life is good for you right now? Thank God. Thank God for his goodness. And have faith that God is at work.