Life, along with its joys and wonders, also contains difficulties. Frustrations occur, illnesses come, and our health deteriorates with time. Our bodies bear the signs that life on earth is not perfect and that we are not meant to be in this state for eternity. Realizing that “my flesh and my heart may fail” (Psalm 73:26), we know that life is but a vapor (James 4:14). Although all people will experience hardships in this life, and death is inevitable, there is hope for the believer for eternity and for our lives on earth.
In Psalm 73, the psalmist Asaph laments the unfairness he sees in the wicked prospering (Psalm 73:3), seeming to have no struggles (Psalm 73:4), and being free of care (Psalm 73:12). Asaph’s heart failed within him as he couldn’t understand God’s ways (Psalm 73:21–22). Many today also become frustrated at God for allowing good things to happen to bad people. But they must, like the psalmist, realize that their perspective is off. When Asaph “entered the sanctuary of God; then [he] understood their final destiny” (Psalm 73:17). While some people appear to prosper without God, there are consequences for the wicked: eternal life in hell and earthly costs, too. Having an eternal perspective gives us hope even when “my heart may fail” in disappointment or frustration.
Life reminds us that our flesh may also fail. Good health is not guaranteed. Cancer, illnesses, long-term disabilities, and other ailments remind us that life on this earth is not perfect. Our flesh will fail; each of us will have to face death. Yet the believer has hope for eternity. Christian hope is rooted in the salvation and eternal life available through Christ (John 3:16). This hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5) because nothing can take our salvation and hope away, regardless of life’s circumstances. Job knew God would not fail him even when his life should end: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he shall stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25–26). “My flesh and my heart may fail,” but hope is found because “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
The believer has hope even though “my flesh and my heart may fail.” Our eternal salvation fuels our hope as we live on this earth. Believers have hope that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:28–29). We know that this world is not all there is. We have comfort in knowing that God is with us through our difficulties (Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 28:20). Our “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) through Christ is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19), regardless of the storms we face in life. By contrast, those who do not place their trust in God are said to be without hope (Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13).
When our hearts ache or illness deteriorates our bodies, we see that “my flesh and my heart may fail.” Yet God is our strength and our hope and our reward. A literal rendering of Psalm 73:26 is that God is “the rock of my heart.” For believers, our eternity is secure, and this gives us hope, although life may leave us feeling helpless. No matter what we face, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).