When You Just Want to Throw in the Towel

Posted On August 16, 2008

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Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.   My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

“Why do I work so hard?  Why am I so tired?  Does it really matter?  Does anyone even care?”

4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.
 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.
 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!
 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.
 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.

“God, don’t you even notice how they are getting away with their sin?  I’m telling them Your Word, and Your truths, but they don’t listen.  They must think I’m an idiot for believing all this, because they purposely disobey Your law, and nothing happens.  Why are You so merciful?”

 

 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.
 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
 12 Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

 

 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

“Lord, has it really been worth it?  Does what I’ve dedicated my life to, what I’ve sacrificed my health for, really make a difference in Your kingdom?  I’m so tired.  Sometimes it’s just so hard to get up in the morning.”

 

 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.
 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!

“I don’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone.  I want to be an encouragement, Father.  I want to make people thirsty for You; I want my life to cause them to be hungry for Your Word and Your ways.  But those who don’t give a rip about You have such an easy life — vacation homes, nice cars, lots of money to just throw around and spend on themselves.  They don’t budget; shop the sales; do without; economize.  They have fun and don’t worry about anyone but themselves.  It just doesn’t make sense.”

 

 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

“Oh, that’s right; it’s not about me, is it.  This is about You; Your sovereignty; Your everlasting love; Your mercy and grace.”

 

 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.
 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
 

 

“Lord, how could I even think for a minute that it would be easier to walk away from You, to disobey You, to live my own life.  I’ve been down that road; it nearly destroyed me!  You are a just and holy God, and you will not leave any injustice without executing judgment.  You can see the end, as well as the now.  You aren’t fooled by anyone; every sin will be held to account.”

“I’ve forgotten that mercy and grace are given to the undeserving.  If we could “deserve” mercy, then it would be merit, not mercy; wages, not grace.  I love Your grace; I depend on Your mercy to me.  But I don’t deserve it any more than anyone else.  My sin isn’t ‘less than’ — sin is sin and I have been so blind as to think that I could go my own way and You wouldn’t care or act.”

 

 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
 22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

“Oh, God, what a hypocrite I am!!!  Please forgive my arrogance and lack of love for those who are far from You!  It’s not their wickedness that has torn me apart; it’s my bitterness and envy, which is just as wicked.  I repent of my prideful heart; thank You for Your mercy and grace to me.”

 

 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.  26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.

 “Oh, how grateful I am to be Your child!  You have promised to be with me always, and You are!  Keep me clinging to Your Word, so that I will be guided by Your counsel, and so my heart will be tender toward You.  Give me Your eyes to see the world as You see it; give me a heart that breaks for those who have turned away from You, not a heart that envies them or becomes bitter because they don’t “listen to me.”  Lord, I want the “me” to be removed, so that people see only You.”

“Lord, I can’t think of anything I would rather do than Your will.  I have nowhere else to go.  You are the One who has eternal life to offer.  Why would I settle for anything less than an eternity–starting right now–with You as my best friend, my King, my Master, my Good Shepherd?!”

“If heart pain and decreased lung function and rheumatoid arthritis and a broken voice and exhaustion and weakness are on Your path for displaying Your glory in this broken and hurting world, then I joyfully accept this assignment.  You are my strength in weakness; You are my energy, my endurance.  Your Words are the ones I want to whisper or type.  Prayer needs no vocalizing; listening requires ears, not a voice.  My hands my hurt, but they can still render Your touch for a broken soul.  I can still weep Your tears; I can still display Your smile.”

“No time invested in people for whom You gave Your only Son is ever wasted time.  No resources given in obedience to You are just thrown away.  No words spoken in obedience are wasted.  I am responsible to obey; You are responsible for the outcome.  What freedom that brings!”

 

 27 Those who desert him will perish,for you destroy those who abandon you.
 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
      and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

 

“Oh, Lord, I pray that those who have walked away from You will come home.  I don’t want them to be destroyed in their sin.  Thank You for Your mercy and grace.  I am so exceedingly grateful that You have drawn me near You.  I am safe in You.  And, Father, even if no one ever listens or hears, I will never stop shouting (metaphorically speaking) from the rooftops how amazing and wonderful You are!”

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