My mother loved playing the piano and teaching others how to play. I can hardly imagine it, but our house with ten children had three pianos – a baby grand in the living room, an upright in the dining room, and another in the basement playroom. The melodies of Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach floated upon the daily thunder of bickering and laughter throughout our home.
My Mom’s cherished dream came alive when our church asked her to be the organist for weekday services. I remember her holding out her hands to show me her crooked fingers and knobby knuckles.
“My arthritis is painful,” she said. “I’m so blessed that I can suffer for the Lord as I play for him at church.”
I recoiled at the sight of her gnarled hands, horrified that God would want my mother to suffer disease for Him. I wanted no part of a God who doled out ailments for His glory.
My Fall and Deliverance
I stopped attending church and considered myself agnostic by 16 years of age. My teenage years are a blur, lost in drugs and suicidal ideations. At 20, my mother found where I lived, knocked on my door, and handed me a Bible.
I started reading the New Testament, thinking I could probably pick up some philosophy tips from Jesus. He had something else in mind. As I read about Jesus’ miracles and compassion, I cried – for three months. Tears of joy washed away years of bitter anger and hard-heartedness as I realized that Jesus could love me, too.
God led me to two young missionary ladies who taught me the good news of truth, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights. He forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases.
Prison of Lies
On the other hand, my mother suffered needlessly. The adversary held her captive with a lie – that God wants His people to suffer from painful diseases and won’t heal them. I shared Scripture after Scripture with her, each holding the key to unlock her prison cell. But her religious convictions ran deep. I helplessly stood by as she grabbed her open prison door and pulled it shut.
I cried as disease robbed her of the satisfying, long life that God promises in Psalm 91:16. I praise God, however, that she confessed Jesus as Lord and believed that God raised him from the dead. She was heaven-bound with everlasting life.
The Almost Unbelievable Truth
All I’ve shared leads me to the astounding truth in Psalm 91:8:
“You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.”
The believer who abides in God – who is not an occasional visitor – declares his trust in God, who delivers him from the terrors of war and plagues. God says that we will only look on and see the reward of the wicked.
I had friends who firmly believed that God is light and love, but the COVID plague took their lives. How can this be? I’m supposed to see the wicked – those hostile to God – falling to the plague. Not my brothers and sisters in Christ, and certainly not my mother so many years ago!
What other people do and why they die is not for me to know or understand. I loved them dearly and fought with them in prayer. Although I grieve their absence, I rejoice in their eternal reward.
However, I will not allow their loss to make me wallow in lies contrary to Scripture. God’s Word is true, even in areas of my life where I don’t yet understand and believe the truth that sets me free.
I believe the days in which we live are exponentially exploding with wickedness that relentlessly attempts to pry God’s Word from our hearts. I steel my mind to say as David did, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.” (Psalms 101:3)
And when wickedness does fasten its grip, I will cry out to God, who is faithful to do what He says He will do in the upcoming verses we’ll be looking at in Psalm 91!