Why do dishonest, unkind, and undisciplined people succeed in life? All around us, we see decent, hard-working people with more than their fair share of suffering, while people who should be penalized for their actions appear to get off scot-free.
This temporary injustice has been a cause of consternation throughout history. King David warned his people not to be frustrated by it:
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Psalm 37:1-11).
Three times in that passage, David tells his people not to “fret themselves,” and twice he promises that the humble and the righteous will inherit the earth. How will it happen?
The wicked will eventually be punished and removed, and the earth will be available to the only people who are left: the meek.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior concisely references this passage. “Blessed are the meek,” He says, “for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, 3 Nephi 12:5). You don’t have to right every wrong. You don’t have to be overcome with indignation when you are mistreated. You can trust that all will be right in the end. God has promised it. But it won’t happen all at once. You will have to be patient.
The prophet Isaiah taught that God will “reprove with equity for the meek of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4, 2 Nephi 21:4, 2 Nephi 30:9). The Hebrew word translated “meek” in this passage is anav (עָנָו), which means “afflicted,” “beaten down,” or “oppressed.” The word translated “equity” is mishor (מִישׁוֹר), which means “fairness.” Life isn’t fair today, but God will make it so.
Don’t envy the wicked. Trust God. Be meek. Everything will work out in the end.
Today, I will not be fooled by temporary success. I will remember that success built on wrong choices is ephemeral. I will build on a solid foundation, trusting in the Lord, so that I can eventually inherit the earth.