"Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency" (Psalm 73:13).
Asaph, the writer of this psalm, was so confused by his sufferings in comparison to the easy life of the wicked that he nearly slipped into a pit of absolute unbelief. He was ready to accuse God of abandoning him, of not being concerned, and for a moment he was ready to quit the battle and give up completely.
This godly man must have thought, "I've been doing right and enduring hardships all this time but it was for nothing. All my diligence, my praising and worshiping, my study of God's Word has been useless, in vain. I have done only right; yet I continue to suffer and it makes no sense. What's the use of going on?"
Beloved, you must be careful. When calamity falls, when a trial comes upon you, when you are grieving, you need to guard your heart against slipping.
You may not be in Asaph's condition, suffering and being tested, but you may know someone who is going through something similar. Sudden calamity may have come upon a godly relative, friend or church member, someone you know who is doing right, and you have asked, "Why, God? How could You allow this? That person is so righteous!"
Asaph went to the temple and prayed. Beloved, when your time of grief or suffering comes, you must go to the secret closet. Get alone with God and cry out to Him. If you will get alone with the Father, He will give you understanding. That is when the Holy Spirit spoke to Asaph: “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction” (verse 18). Asaph realized, “I’m not the one slipping, the wicked are slipping. They’re going straight into destruction.”
Asaph began to see the whole picture and he rejoiced: “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (verse 26). He could say, “Yes, my strength is failing. Yes, I’m enduring a great battle — but I’m not alone in my struggles. I have a loving Father in heaven and He watches over me!”