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Things Are Not What They Appear

Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes (Psalm 37:7, NLT).

A cardinal spiritual principle is that things are not always as they appear on the outside.

Many people are outwardly prosperous and happy, but inwardly they are miserable.

I was invited to visit a family who lived in a home with 21 bedrooms. It was a palatial mansion. They were a baron and a baroness, and wonderful people. I fell in love with them. But both have chronic nightmares and he is an alcoholic. It was a tragic, unbelievable situation.

I once heard of a man who has stolen millions of dollars, who lives like a king, and has everything, and we have a tendency to think he is happy. But St. Augustine once said “Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord; and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” One cannot find rest until they find the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, and God’s great love and forgiveness available through Him.

So we should never assume that because a person is wealthy, a great athlete, a great world political leader, or financier, or entertainer, or whatever, that they are happy. Some are among the most miserable people in the world.

Some people live a life of habitual sin, disregarding God and His commandments, and hurting other people, and you can tell that they are suffering for it already. But others mock God and do the same thing and they seem to get away with it, yet are outwardly happy. With the psalmist, we cry, “How long, O LORD? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat? Hear their arrogance! How these evildoers boast!” (Psalm 94:3-4, NLT).

We should never view God’s discipline and judgment as though He is not aware of what is going on, or that He closes His books at the end of the year. His time is not our time. Some people are disciplined immediately when they sin. Others seem to get away with it, because we do not know what is going on in their hearts.

Let us remember God’s words: “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7, NLT).

God has targeted some of these “evil” people to hear the gospel and to come into His kingdom by grace through faith. Instead of resenting what they have and their present attitudes toward God, let us be alert for opportunities to witness to them. And if God has put any of them on your heart, hold them up frequently in prayer, for God to touch and transform their lives.

Bill Bright

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