I have a confession. Many times when I read my Bible, especially in the Psalms, I don't focus on and meditate over the parts when David or Asaph (or whomever the author may be) speak of the triumph of the wicked and beg God to answer their prayer.
"Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down;
rescue me from the wicked by your sword.
O LORD, by your hand save me from such men,
from men of this world whose reward is in this life."
"Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
at the voice of the enemy,
at the stares of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering upon me
and revile me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest -
I would flee far away and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm."
Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lives never leave its streets.
If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were raising himself against me,
I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
His speech is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
But you, O God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of corruption;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you."
Psalm 55:1-14, 20-23
"How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
I suppose the reason I just skim over these verses is that I really don't encounter "the wicked". At least not in my comfortable American life. And, before a year ago, I never really walked along side the weak and fatherless, the poor and oppressed.
But, praise God, He has changed the course of my life and has given me a taste of what real persecution looks like. Now that our family is part of SixtyFeet, we have come along side the weak and fatherless, the poor and oppressed. We have encountered great injustices and have even made some enemies along the way. We have seen the wickedness of the Enemy at work.
As weary and upset as I get in the face of injustice (particularly if it's directed at us), there is a part of me that is encouraged. Satan is obviously unhappy. He will do what he can to derail God's plans. But, you know what? No matter how hard he tries (and he's pretty good at discouragement and inflicting pain), God's plans will not be thwarted! For "[t]he LORD Almighty has sworn, 'Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.'" Isaiah 14:24.
The wicked may have their day. Often they prosper and bring about grief and suffering for God's elect and it's hard to imagine why God permits it. But we must always remember (always) that He is faithful! No matter what, he will never forsake His people. Whether the sun is shining down on you or your walking through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with you and He always will be. So be encouraged in the midst of trials and suffering, in fact count it all joy!! For your crown of life awaits...
"I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies."