When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
but the righteous is established forever.
Proverbs 10:25 ESV
We do right to compare suffering and affliction to storms. Like a tempest, trials often race across the horizon and overshadow us in a moment, and the destruction that they leave in their wake can be devastating. Indeed, because all of creation is groaning under the curse of our fall into sin, times of affliction are as predictably unpredictable as storms. They are predictable in the sense that we know life will be scattered about this them. Enduring both storms and affliction is inevitable.
Even so, whenever afflictions roar around us like a mighty tempest, we can easily question why God would permit us to endure such suffering. This proverb gives us a piece of the answer. God uses the tempest to destroy the wicked and to establish the righteous. In times of prosperity, it is all too easy to envy the wicked, even Asaph admitted to almost doing so in Psalm 73! They do whatever they want and seem to suffer no consequences. They seem so steadfast. Yet affliction exposes the reality that they are like chaff that the wind drives away (Psalm 1:4). When the tempest finally comes for them (and it always will), their house proves to be built on sand, and the pomp and grandeur only quicken its fall.
The righteous, however, are established forever. Daniel and his friends are a great example of this. They lived right in the middle of one of Israel’s most severe times of judgment, and while the wicked were swept away, the LORD established the work of their hands. They rose in honor and authority in the foreign land of Babylon, and Daniel even outlasted the Babylonian Empire itself. Of course, few examples are as dramatic as the events of Daniel, yet the principle remains firm. When the tempest is over, God’s people are rooted deeply, while the wicked are blown away by the winds of affliction. Even if we do not see it within our lifetime, God uses every tempest as a crucible to burn away impurities and refine His people like gold. Let us keep this truth ever in our hearts and minds.