Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
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.
For more than a year, I wrestled with God–How long do I have to experience everyone else receiving exactly what I long for while I sit on the sidelines waiting?
I was trapped in my own mindset. Eventually, I would realize that envy was penetrating my heart and turning into bitterness. At some point, I had started to think there was a blessing bank and God was the financier. Every time someone else received what I was longing for, there was a debit to the account, meaning that every time someone else was “blessed,” there were fewer and fewer blessings for me. I felt miserable and lost in this way of thinking.
In today’s Scripture, Asaph, the author, is feeling a very similar dilemma, “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain” (v. 13-14). He’s watching those that do not follow God receive all the “blessings,” and he’s wondering, where are mine?
But if you read the entire Psalm, you see closer to the end, he says, “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 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” (v. 23-26).
It seems part of the human condition to envy what others have at times. When that envy isn’t addressed, it often turns to bitterness. And bitterness blocks our eyes from seeing and our hearts from knowing the truth of the matter—there is nothing this side of Heaven that compares to belonging to God. I used to think this was a trite response as I waited on God for the longings of my heart. But as time has passed and I continue to wait on Him for various things, I’ve come to find there truly is nothing that compares to knowing Him more deeply and being intimately known by Him.
As we continue through Holy Week and make our way toward Easter, ask God to show you where any roots of envy might be taking hold in your heart. Ask Him to help you uproot them.