From Elad Vaida
I’ve always liked Psalm 73 for how candid it is. The writer does not pretend that evil people always receive swift judgment, or that the righteous will live easy, cushy lives. No: rather, the evil “have no pangs until death,” they are not “in troubles as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind,” and they always “increase in riches.” They are haughty and rebellious against God and their fellow man. This is enough to drive the Psalmist, and any rational person, to despair. But even though evil men might seem invincible in our eyes, they’re ultimately “phantoms” whose lives end in a moment. The Psalmist regrets that he used to envy these evil men, which made him like a “beast” towards God. But he is saved because God is continually with him, and guides him with His counsel. “Whom have I in heaven but you?” he asks.
But we don’t have God just in heaven, but in the here-and-now as well. One of the most beautiful things about our faith is that God was incarnated in sinful flesh. He’s not some unreachable, distant judge. He knows what it’s like to be human. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, “He likewise partook of the same things,” he shared our “flesh and blood.” What a fantastic, undeserved privilege it is to have our Infinite God lower himself to the level of a lowly creature! No other religion, to my knowledge, has such an intimate connection with God; a God who partook of the same sinful flesh as us, who went through the same temptations, and who suffered a horrifying fate, so that we won’t have to face the eternal senselessness of death. It makes God that much more loving, and relatable. As the great Charles Spurgeon said: “a Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.”
I am currently a student at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and am about to graduate in around two months. Currently busily panicking over what the future holds.