Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
But you, O Lord, know me;
you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
the beasts and the birds are swept away,
because they said, “He will not see our latter end.” Jeremiah 12:1-4 ESV
Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:1-6 ESV
Have you ever heard of a plant called Mile-a-Minute? The Mile-a-Minute is an invasive plant that is native to east Asia and parts of Europe, but was accidentally introduced to the United States. It doesn’t actually grow a mile a minute, but it does grow very fast–up to six inches a day! It can grow in fields, ditches, the sides of roads and streams, and the edges of the forest. When the Mile-a Minute takes hold, it quickly covers the ground and often kills the plants that are growing beneath it. It even kills young trees, and it can kill fields of young Christmas trees or other seedlings, and get in the way of efforts to reforest natural areas. Farmers, foresters, and others put in a lot of hard work trying to get rid of the Mile-a-Minute by cutting it or mowing it or spraying it.
Jeremiah lived in a time when the people of the southern kingdom had become very wicked and violent and hurtful. Jeremiah compared them to plants that took root and flourished, but destroyed everything in their path and left behind death and misery. The prophet cried out his complaint to God, asking why he let the wicked live and thrive. He begged God to get rid of the evil people who were hurting the land and leaving behind destruction and mourning.
It’s sometimes hard to understand why God allows evil people and violent times in his world. We can’t always see God’s purposes, and we might even wonder if he cares about us when we see so much hurt and destruction. We can’t always know the answers to these questions, but we can always go to the Lord with our troubles and know that he hears us and loves us very much. He came to us in Jesus, and Jesus suffered terrible violence and evil and hurt when they put him on a cross to die. But God used Jesus’ cross to give us the forgiveness of all our sins and to bring us back to himself. Because of Jesus, we can always be sure that God is working good for his people, no matter what happens.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and for hearing our prayers. Help us to always trust you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.