A wise man once said: “There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them,” Ecclesiastes 7:15-18.
It is true. It is not by own out strength or wisdom, foolishness or failure that we live and die. It is by the sustenance of a Divine God and a dusty earth. Sometimes I fall flat on my face because I was an idiot, other times because I didn’t see the curb and then other times because someone tripped me. Sometimes I get the applause because I was witty and talented, other times because I was appreciated when I was unaware and then other times because I took credit where it was not due. Even when we obey all of the rules, we can lose it all. I thank God because He has promised to give a favorable judgment to those who obey the rules. He does not judge us according to our great successes and failures.
One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 34:5, which says, “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” We look at Him and beam with radiant delight. He receives us not based on our great successes and failures but in our humanness. We are His simply because we are. How refreshing! If I am humbled by God or made a fool by men, I look at Him and any shame is washed away. If I am exalted by God or applauded by men, I look at Him and any delusions of grandeur are sobered. I am because He is.