13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
“This is so unfair! How can God let this be!?” This was not the first time I had heard those words expressed by a Christian, but it was one of the hardest times. She had just buried her daughter, a vivacious and wonderful young mother, happily married, two daughters of her own, a beautiful young woman with a life full of responsibilities and promise. And now, for no discernable reason, she was gone, lying the morgue at the local hospital, waiting for the funeral home to collect her body and prepare her for what was one of hardest funerals I ever preached.
How can God let things like this be? The people of Malachi’s day were asking much the same question. What good is it to follow God? It seems like the blessings and the horrors of life pay no attention to whether one is a Christian or not. In fact, the wicked look like they are prospering while we are suffering our service to God. When you are confronted by someone who asks that question of you in their moment of grief, it is not a time for answers. It is a time for an embrace, tears wept with them, and a stalwart presence that will let them rage and still be with them. But later, when the tears have stopped and the heart has spent itself in grief, there may come a day when the question comes up again. Here, Malachi speaks a promise to us all. There is a book of remembrance which God has made. It is not that He needs a book, but you need to know he has it written down. Every tear, every hurt, and the name of every one of His children are marked in that book. The day comes when it will be plain for all to see the difference between the righteous and the wicked. The day comes when resurrected to life eternal, her daughter shall laugh with them all. And all the world will see that she is blessed by God.