Many of us wonder why is it that wicked and evil people are allowed to thrive, prosper and live long lives while the righteous and those who do what is good often die young. Although that appears to be an unjust thing, the reason why that happens will come as a surprise even to many Christians:
It's because of the goodness of God.
'The Goodness of God?'
Yes, the goodness of God. I used to wonder about this matter myself. I hear stories of wicked people, those who do wrong and deceive people into thinking that what they do is right, attaining prosperity. On the other hand, we hear stories of well-meaning people doing great things in service of God, yet they are often hungry.
The Bible even shows us stories of such injustice. We read about John the Baptist being beheaded at the command of a man in high position. We read about how Elijah was miraculously fed through ravens, angels, and a poor widow while fighting against the nation's honoured deceiver, Jezebel.
And surely we have read about Jesus Christ, who was unjustly persecuted, ridiculed, betrayed and put to shame, at the urgings of respected religious leaders.
So how can we say that it's because of the goodness of God? How could we call it "God's goodness" that the wicked prosper while the godly die unjustly treated, poor, and young?
God's Grace for the Wicked Is for Salvation
Friends, we must keep in mind that it is the Lord's will for all men to be saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:4). It is with this desire that God allows such things to happen.
God allows wicked people to live long, in order that somehow someone will bring the gospel to them. 2 Peter 3:15 says, "Remember, our Lord's patience gives people time to be saved."
If God extends His patience for their salvation, we must hope, pray, and share the gospel to them for their salvation, too.
What About the Death of the Righteous?
Knowing that God extends His grace for the wicked to be saved, we must then understand that God wants the righteous to remain righteous until death. Because of His love, He protects His people from the evil that might befall them.
"The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." (Isaiah 57:1-2)
Some might misinterpret this as brutal, but it is actually merciful. Consider the pains of this world and its wickedness, and compare them to the beauty of God's presence in heaven. Pretty sure our sleeping brothers in Christ are already happy with Him in His presence.
This, however, should not be a reason for us to want to die before our time. We must serve God in our generation before He calls us home (see Acts 13:36). Remember, Christ said "it is finished" before committing His spirit into God's hands and breathing His last. (see John 19:30; Luke 23:46)