Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people;
they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. (NLT)
Many of us can understand the Psalmist’s sentiments. Life is riddled with unfairness. Unscrupulous people prosper while the genuinely needy suffer. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer, and sometimes that is due to deliberate political decisions.
Life is not always fair. Doing good and being honest does not guarantee a reward, not in this life anyway. And so, some people direct the blame to God. The Psalmist himself expresses his own risk of giving up on God because of the unfairness he was witnessing.
But we can still hold to the fact that God is fair even as we acknowledge the fact that life is not always fair. That is the conclusion drawn by the Psalmist later on in his writing. To assume that just because God is fair that life must also be fair is to misunderstand the relationship between God and his world.
God allows evil and wickedness and unfairness to exist as part of his granting freedom to his human creation. He voluntarily limits his absolute power so as not to squash our humanity. And because our humanity is flawed, it means he allows what is both good and bad to exist.
In the midst of all the painful unfairness we can look beyond to a God who in himself is fair and who will one day usher in the new heavens and new earth. Then and only then will we experience both perfect freedom and perfect fairness.