Psalm 37 tackles a historically thorny question, “Why do the evil prosper and the good perish?” The psalm addresses those who struggle with this question and who long for justice. Throughout the centuries theologians have sought to answer this question and its cousin, “How can God be good when there is evil in the world?” Both questions are attempting to hold together justice, morality, power, and divinity.
Some say the answer lives in free will. God gives us free will in order that we might know the full depth of love. However, that free will opens the door for mistakes, maliciousness, and misanthropes.
Others say that the answer lives in the bigger picture. Our view is finite and limited. Our judgments of what is good and what is bad are incomplete. Only God sees the bigger picture and in this perspective even those things that we see as evil eventually work out for the greater glory of God.
Still others say that God enters into this struggle alongside of us. God suffers with us and experiences the same injustices we face. God has ultimately done this through Christ and the cross is God’s response.
In Psalm 37 the response to these theological conundrums is simple, trust God.
“Trust in the Lord and do good… Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for God…The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; God is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord delivers them from the wicked because they take refuge in God.”
I realize that for some, the exhortation to “trust God” may not suffice as an intellectual response to the problem of evil. Yet the invitation to trust in God is the core of our faith. Trusting in God is what binds together Christians from every tribe and tongue. Our mutual trust in God brings unites our focus on the one who is love incarnate. If those who say they follow Christ do not trust Christ then who exactly are they following? If the church does not trust in God then what makes it different than any other non-profit? If our trust is never acted upon then does it matter?
The application of trust looks different in different times, places, and relationships. How we demonstrate our trust in God is not always clear. Yet we can always begin with a simple prayer, “God, you are worthy of my trust. Today, I trust in you.”