From a Spiritual PerspectiveAugust 1, 2021 - 12:00 am
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;— Psalm 73:2-3
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
In honour of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
If you have ever looked around at the world and the child in you screamed “it’s not fair,” then Psalm 73 is for you! You’re in good company, too. Like most people do at some point in their lives, King David was striving to understand why the wicked prosper while the good suffer. In this psalm, he expresses his frustration, but also his resolution.
The psalmist gives words to the feelings so many hold inside: “This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth” (v.12). We, too, look around and see a world in which many evil people have it so easy.
“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence” (v.13). And then there are the good people, and even saintly people, whose lives bring them one struggle after the next. So what’s it worth? All the prayer, the good deeds, and all the faith in the world — and still they have it tough. Is it all in vain, as the psalmist suggests? Is there no divine justice in the world? Even King David had to ask.
Yet once the psalmist looked at life from a spiritual perspective, he understood this deeply troubling issue. “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (vv.16–17).
Change Our Perspective
From our limited human perspective, we experience life as physical beings that, on occasion, have spiritual experiences. But the truth is that we are spiritual beings, and for a limited amount of time, we are having a physical experience. We did not come from this planet, and we won’t be staying here forever. We are on a journey until the day we arrive home, and we must learn to change our perspective from human to spiritual.
Only then can we understand that we don’t see the whole story down here. The “final destiny” of the wicked — and of the righteous — will be decided in the spiritual realm. Our existence in this world is so very limited. However, life in the world to come is for eternity. It’s not easy to suffer in this world, but deep down we all know that it’s our final destiny that matters most.
Next time you find yourself frustrated with the cards you were dealt, remember to S-T-O-P: Stop what you are doing. Take a deep breath. Observe the true reality and change your Perspective. Then, like the psalmist, you also will be able to find comfort and say, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v.26).