Why do bad things happen to me?
Have you ever looked around and felt as if bad people were being rewarded for their wrong-doing and all the while, wondering why the harder you try to do right, nothing good ever happens to you? If you're honest, we all have at some point in our lives. This is the story of Asaph in Psalm 73. Asaph was one of the leaders of King David's choir, who wrote the 73rd Psalm and many others. Let's take a look at Psalm 73 and see how Asaph deals with the problem of good things happening to bad people. Granted, Asaph was no angel, and at first, when I read through this Psalm, I gathered that he was somewhat angered when he allowed himself to focus on what others around were doing.
First of all, he looked around and saw how all the wicked people seemed to prosper in their ways. This bothered him. In fact he allowed it to provoke him to the point of frustration. This turned to despair.
So he began to look back. At this point he pitied himself and thought about all the bad things that were being heaped on him while everything good was happening to those around him. "Why did my transmission have to go bad in my Jimmy? Why did my engine have to blow up in my Mercury? And both in the same year; God knows I'm a dedicated Christian who works for a living and my neighbor sells drugs and drives fancy vehicles all the time." If Asaph lived today, perhaps this is how he might have felt about now.
But fortunately, he began to come to his senses, and next we see Asaph looking ahead. The Bible says at this point that he had gone into "the sanctuary of God and understood their end." The psalmist's spirit turns from selfishness to selflessness. Here his belligerence has been changed to brokenness. This has come about by the realization that these, whom have seemingly been so blessed by their abundant (riches and wealth) all around, are not so rich after all. If their lives don't change, they're headed for certain destruction.
As the psalmist continued to see what the Lord was showing him, he looked in. This time, realizing how truly blessed that he was. Only after understanding where his tormentors were headed in their present glory did he know that his riches were not of this earth. The Bible says to "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
If this Psalm were a climbing experience, its writer, Asaph, finally reached the top. As we conclude this Psalm, we remember that as he was beginning the journey at the start of the Psalm, he was in despair, seeing nothing but evil all around. But now, we see him looking up. He finally knows that God is the most important person in his life, and no one, nothing, no issue must stand in the way of his relationship with his loving God. The more that Asaph looks up, the less important the problems of his life became, and what's more, the less important the circumstances of those around him seemed to matter. The words of the songwriter seem to put it all into perspective when he said, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."