In Pittsburgh this past weekend I spoke at Right Online. Rob Bluey asked if I would give the audience some advice. Let me share that with you now. If you aren’t a Christian, you may not understand this, but I’ll put it here anyway.
William Wilberforce, having become an evangelical, wrote to his good friend Prime Minister William Pitt. Wilberforce told Pitt he intended to get out of politics and dedicate himself to the Lord. Pitt relied on Wilberforce and saw Wilberforce could be someone strong and apply his faith to life if he just wouldn’t quit.
In Pitt’s reply to Wilberforce, Pitt wrote, “If a Christian may act in the several relations of life, must he seclude himself from them all to become so? Surely the principles as well as the practice of Christianity are simple, and lead not only to meditation only but to action.”
Pitt was no evangelical, but I think he got it there. Our faith compels us to action. But in our actions and our struggles, it often seems the Christ follower, a term I use to separate those who actually follow Christ from those who call themselves Christians by habit and nothing else, are dealt setback after setback.
On occasion our frustration gets the best of us. We get angry and frustrated. We sometimes want to sit it out — to go into seclusion and meditation.
That brings me to Psalm 73, which I quoted at Right Online. Asaph, the writer, lamented the fact that all around him those who feared God were struggling while those who rejected God appeared to prosper. The people who hated God were doing mighty fine.
Nothing has changed. The secular crowd that routinely attacks evangelicals, the folks who want to take God out of the national conversation or, at minimum, turn Him into something He is not, always seem to do pretty well in life.
Asaph wrote, “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man …. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.”
Asaph was pretty put out. The folks who, in his mind, should not be prospering were prospering.
But Asaph, in considering this, realized and knew “God is good … to those who are pure in heart.” Of those wicked who were prospering he wrote, “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”
That’s the conundrum of this life. The wicked do prosper. That is the way it has always been. But victory ultimately belongs to those who know the real God.
And so we struggle to make it through this life into eternity.
At Right Online, I talked about what Asaph wrote, and then gave my advice I’ll now give you.
Victory comes, though we know not when. We must be happy warriors until the end.
For those of you who struggle with what goes on, who see retreat and capitulation, and who feel like not just your political opponents, but those who hold dear all those things you hold as blasphemous — be cheerful. Be happy. Victory is already yours.
You must just have the courage to not get discouraged and have the will to fight on.