Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Have you ever lost control of your emotions to the point of saying and doing things for which you were sorry? Something or somebody provoked you to an irrational and emotional tirade. And then you realize such behavior is inappropriate for a Christian. You reason that one who claims to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength should not have acted in that way.
As you read today’s focus scripture (Ps 73:25-26) you may think, “I wish I could be as completely devoted to God as the person who wrote this.” These are the words of a godly man: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
When you look back to verses 21 and 22 you will see that the writer is just like you. His words of praise and devotion to God have come AFTER dealing with a difficult emotional struggle. He says, “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” (Ps 73:25-26) Yes, this man who desired only God had lost his cool, was emotionally out of control, and acting like a “brute beast” before God.
In verse 2 he says something else to which we can relate: “my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.” In other words, something had provoked him to an old fashioned temper tantrum. Just in case you didn’t know, even godly people lose it from time to time. The injustices of an evil and wicked world can sometimes push us to the edge of our emotions.
What led this man to become “grieved and embittered,” “senseless and ignorant,” and a “brute beast?” What caused him to “nearly” lose his “foothold?” He was reacting to something you and I see every day: “the prosperity of the wicked.” (v3) He couldn’t understand why his life was such a struggle while those who had no love for God seemingly had no problems. “They have no struggles…They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” (v4-5) He was outraged at their violent ways (v6), “their callous hearts,” (v7a) and “the evil conceits of their minds.” (v7b)
You do all that you can to obey the Lord. You strive to maintain a godly and righteous life, and you love God with all your heart. Yet…you struggle. Paycheck to paycheck, problem to problem, hardship to hardship, and hurt after hurt. All the while you see others who haven’t sold out to God, and it looks like they live on easy street. Life just doesn’t seem to be fair and you identify with the words of the psalm writer in verse 13 where he says: “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.” People and circumstances can rattle our faith and throw our spirituality off balance.
When we are overcome with emotional frustrations brought on by the ills of this world, we should learn this valuable lesson from the Psalmist. He took his frustration to God. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God…” (v16-17). His perspective and attitude changed when he aired his frustrations to God. Notice how his countenance is transformed in verses 23 and 24 when he says, “I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
When you come into the presence of Almighty God, you will always come away better than when you arrived. You may not get all the answers that you are seeking but you will always gain confidence that God has everything under control. Before Him you will experience “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
The Psalmist pitched a fit and struggled with bitterness. He agonized over the unfair frustrations of life just like you and me. Then he came before God and saw this most important reality. When life is reduced to its lowest common denominator there is only one thing that truly matters and that is… you belong to God. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” When you have God you have all that you need.
For more on this topic, check out this article: What It Means to Hope in the Lord
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.