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."– Psalms 73:2-3 NLT
I like to run. Mostly outdoors, but if it is rainy and cold I will sometimes resort to running on a treadmill. But it can be a dangerous experience. There is something about me and treadmills that make for a dangerous combination. If I lose focus, I can fall. If I find myself distracted in any way from the task at hand, and start looking around at what else is going on in the room, I can end up stepping off the center of the mat and running right off the treadmill. Believe me, it's happened – one time in a crowded YMCA in the middle of the lunch hour workout crowd. I was running along at a nice pace, when I decided to check out who was running on the treadmill next to me. I wanted to compare pace, running style, see if he was as tired as I was. That's when it happened. As I turned to look, my body slowly followed my head and I stepped right off the side of the treadmill. The next thing I know I was laying flat on my face at the back of the treadmill where the belt had deposited me when I fell. I was unhurt, but highly embarrassed. I had lost my focus. I had gotten distracted. I had forgotten why I was there in the first place.
That is what I think of when I read this Psalms. The Psalmist writes that he almost lost his footing. Why? Because he started looking around at his surroundings. He became distracted by the proud and their lot in life. He started to compare himself with others. And as soon as he did, he began to lose focus. He lost his perspective. This is a dangerous game that all of us play from time to time. Forgetting why we are here, we begin to compare our lot in life to those around us. We start looking around at the "wicked" and begin to notice that they seem to be better off than we are and we're the good guys. They seem happier, healthier, wealthier, and all despite their blatant disregard for God. All our efforts to live righteous lives start to look like a royal waste of time. We begin to second guess ourselves and doubt God.
That's when we need a new perspective. We need to get back on track. For the Psalmist it meant getting back in touch with God by going to the sanctuary of God. In other words, he had to get back into God's presence. He had to take his eyes off the world and put them back where they belonged – on God. When he did, his perspective changed. But as long as he kept his focus on the perceived inequities of life, his heart grew hard and his thinking clouded and distorted. Perspective changes everything though. Keeping our focus on God helps us view life from His vantage point, instead of our own. We have limited perspective, which is why we need to see things from His point of view.
When he turned his attention back to God, the Psalmist realized just how good he really had it. He could say, "Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever" (Psalms 73:25-26 NLT). "But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do" (Psalms 73:28 NLT). Now that's a change in perspective.
Father, I want to see the world from Your point of view, not mine. Forgive me for the many times I get distracted by what I see going on around me. I take my eyes off of You and I fall. I lose my sense of balance and begin believing that what I see taking place around me is the truth. It is reality. But only You are reality. Only You can be trusted. May I learn to trust You despite what I see going on around me. Amen