I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken… (Psalm 37:25)
King David wrote this near the end of his life, and was testifying to what he had seen first-hand. Eyewitness testimony is powerful. Blind faith can only go so far, and speculation is frequently useless. But when someone has “been there, done that and wrote the FAQs” their testimony can be a firm foundation.
As I grew up I heard this Scripture quoted frequently. Not having been through much in my young life up to that point, I took it at face value and didn’t give it much thought beyond that. In my middle years I thought over this passage and began to seriously doubt God and the truth of the Bible. As more years rolled by, my doubt firmed up into complete disbelief of all things related to God and Scripture. What I saw happening in my life and to Christians I knew was solid evidence that God didn’t exist and the Bible had been written by con men, and that this passage in particular was a fraud perpetrated on naive people.
I was reminded of this recently in the aftermath of the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, when some celebrities ridiculed the Christians who called for prayer for those who lost so much on that day. They scorned any idea that God was there and could, or would, be there for His people. I can relate to that reaction myself because it used to be my knee-jerk opinion whenever I saw Christians going through hardships. Why didn’t God strike the gunman down before he could kill those who had gathered to worship Him?
I think it truly takes decades of living to get heart-knowledge of the truth of this Psalm. Only in looking back over my life did I begin to understand how it all fits together into a recognizable motif in life.
Suffering is real. It pervades all the earth. And when I read the Bible now, I see that all the people in it suffered. No one escaped, not even God’s own Son.
The Rosetta Stone which has brought this into understanding for me has been my experience with underground Christians around the world. I have spoken with many of them about the trials and persecutions they endure on a daily basis, with only Heaven as the end of their suffering. Without fail they have told me that God has been there for them, filling them with His peace and joy in the midst of prison, hunger and pain. They are living out the truth of today’s passage.
A later part of this Psalm, verses 35-38 gives us the final verdict: I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked.
This is the final truth: Godly people are forever; ungodly people are not. They will disappear—eventually. For now we have to trust in the reality of God and His Word.
Like David, I have lived long enough to see both sides of this coin experientially, and can testify that the Bible is truth and its life-promises are an anchor. I was young but now I’m old, but never have I seen the Godly forsaken…in the end.
© 2017 Darvis McCoy