Read Psalm 73:1-3; 23-26
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever. (NLT)
Many followers of Jesus drift: passion grows dim, faith fades, discontent grows, pleasures recede. Those round about might not see it because that individual is going through the outward motions—rituals and habits are preserved. There might even still be many irons in the fire, yet the fire itself is going out.
The drifting can turn into stumbling. Just like the psalmist, we can feel as if we are losing our footing. Doubts risk turning into unbelief; apathy risks turning into disobedience; weariness into utter despondency. And even this can be camouflaged to others in our families or our churches. Others are simply not aware that we are hanging on by our fingernails.
This is all very normal if we reflect on the book of Psalms in its entirety. The writers are often on the brink: drifting and stumbling. Then they have a little talk to themselves. They begin putting things in perspective. They acknowledge their doubts and fears but don’t regard them as the final reality. They are neither in denial nor in despair.
And as in this Psalm, while it begins with cries for help and admission of danger, it ends with a statement of faith. It is a process we all must go through from time to time. Drifting or stumbling. Then thinking things through from God’s standpoint. Then reclaiming some sort of solid ground.
No-one else might be aware of what we are going through. It is enough that our God knows it all, understands it all, and assures us his hold on us remains firm even as our hold on him falters and fails.