Tim Keller | November 28, 1993
Psalm 73 talks about a problem we all face: wondering why good people sometimes suffer while bad people seem to be doing well. It tells us about a person who nearly lost their faith over this, but then realized God’s kindness is constant, even in tough times. This is a bit like the story of Allen Gardiner, a missionary who continued to trust in God’s goodness even when life was really hard. The story of Psalm 73 can help us when we face similar problems and remind us that God is always good.
1. Turning a negative into a positive
At first, the person in the Psalm feels upset and thinks God is unfair. However, he realizes that his negative thoughts could harm others, especially young people who look up to him. This makes him stop and rethink. This shows us that a negative thought can help us grow, if it makes us pause and consider our actions.
2. Finding answers in God’s house
When we’re confused or angry with God, it’s important to keep up with our spiritual practices like reading the Bible, praying, attending church, taking part in sacraments, spending time with other Christians, and doing good deeds. The person in the Psalm found answers and comfort in God’s house. God’s house is not just a place to feel better, but a place to seek truth and understanding, which can help us move past our spiritual low points.
3. Seeing the full picture
When we’re upset or confused, we tend to focus on one thing and ignore the rest. For example, when we question why good people suffer, we only think about God’s love and forget about his fairness, holiness, and wisdom. Our frustrations often come from this narrow viewpoint. It’s important to step back and see the full picture of God’s character and actions.
4. Asking the big question
Sometimes we’re angry with God because we want something from Him more than we want Him. It’s like loving someone just because they give us gifts. Realizing that true happiness and fulfillment come only from God can change this. Knowing that Jesus died for our sins should make us realize that there’s nothing and no one else we could want more than God. This helps us see that God is good, even when life is hard.
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In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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