“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
Psalm 73:16-24 ESV
Towards the beginning of this psalm, the author, Asaph, ponders the prosperity of the wicked against the suffering of the righteous. This isn’t an outdated struggle. We still experience the mystery of this in the 21st century. It may sometimes seem as if the ungodly flourish in their violence, lies and deceit, without any accountability or judgment. In the meantime, the humble who serve God, suffer through many trials and are often in dire circumstances.
From verse 18-19, Asaph discerns the final destination of the ungodly: “Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!”
For those who do not fear the Lord, this is the best it will ever get for them. On the flip side, for those of us who do fear the Lord, the suffering of this life is the worst we will ever have to endure. This is because our Savior already endured the worst for us, by taking on the form of a slave; dying for sin and triumphing over the grave.
The invisible hand of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is forever holding the right hand of His bride, the church. He is guiding her with his counsel and, after the troubles of this life have seized, He will bring her into glory in the New Creation.