Robert Frost (1874-1963), an American poet, published a poem with the title, The Road Not Taken, in 1916. It talks about him coming to a cross roads and examining both before choosing one. In the closing lines of the poem he states that by choosing one over the other it has made all the difference in his journey through life.
Major decisions in life seem to come to us very early in our journey and when we are least qualified to make those decisions. I am speaking of career choices, marriage partner, educational alternatives and so on. More than a few people, later in life, look back in time and regret their decision about this life changing matter or that.
We sometimes say, “Oh, if only I could go back with the wisdom and knowledge of today, I would have done things in a different manner.” Certain people’s lives are filled with regrets.
Asaph, the man who wrote Psalm 73, found himself in just such a position at a certain point in his life journey. He had been a devoted follower of the Lord. Everything that could go wrong in his life did go wrong. He experienced poverty and sorrow of other sorts. Then, when he looked at the rich and happy part of society he also observed that they were godless.
The conclusion he came to was that it did not pay to serve the Lord. His expression in Psalm 73:13 is, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure…” (NIV). His mind was filled with doubts and he struggled to find any reason to serve the Lord.
How do you come to the side of such a person and speak comfort? What can you say that will ease the pain of their tragic lives? Another look at the writer of Psalm 73 gives us a clue about how to steady their faltering steps.
The entire Psalm hinges on verse 17 which reads, “…till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (NIV). In verses 15-16 he confessed that he could not tell anyone about his dark conclusion that it did not pay to serve the Lord. He also wrote that his mind was drowning in confusion and pain.
Then one day, when he went into the house of God to worship, everything came into focus. It was in “church” where he found his mind filled with information that corrected his view on life.
Many good Christian people will tell you that it was in church that the Lord spoke to them in clear, unmistakable terms about life and the future. Sometimes it was a comment in the preacher’s sermon, a prayer offered, or a hymn sung. There are numerous “means of grace” or channels of blessing that the Lord uses when His people gather to worship and sing His praise.
Today, if you find yourself in a dark time of life, I urge you to keep attending the house of the Lord. Mingle with His people and you may find that the voice of the Lord will be heard in your heart. Turn back to the house of God where the Bible is preached, where people sing the praise of the Lord, where they pray and believe God hears and answers prayer. There you too shall find the comfort and answers to your deepest questions about life and your problems.