“Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.”
Have you ever walked through a season where the unrighteous behavior of another hurt you or a loved one, and it seemed that the perpetrator’s behavior was without consequence? Certainly, this is one of the most difficult training grounds we can walk through because injustice seems juxtaposed to God’s heart within us, which longs for righteousness and justice. While we live in such an increasingly depraved world where good is called evil and evil is called good, this does not change the longing we have for righteousness to prevail; as well as, for wickedness to be dealt with. For several years now, I have been walking through a trying season where everything within me wants to trust God over a particular circumstance, but I find that to be an extremely painful proposition. At times, I have been faced with the numerous places in my heart that do not trust Him to intervene on the behalf of my loved ones. This is the result of years of crying out for the evidence of His protective hand, and not yet having seen the changes that I have been praying for. If you, like me, find yourself in such a place, how can Psalm 37 anchor our hearts as we tread these most rugged circumstantial terrains?
Psalm 37 commences with the acknowledgement of how human worry and fret are often the natural reactions to injustice. “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only leads to harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:7-9). Rather than just acknowledging our feelings in times like these, the Psalm provides strong truths of God’s nature regardless of circumstance. It is because of the truths of who God is and His concern over our plight, that the Psalmist encourages us to not only steer away from worry and fret; rather, to replace these emotions and habits with actions that bring health and peace. Because there are at least eight practical replacements for fret given in Psalm 37, I will plan to highlight only one of them in this blog and others in subsequent blogs.
When we find ourselves struggling with trust and wondering if God will come through as we have prayed, Psalm 37 provides significant anchoring to support our hearts while we wait for our cries to be addressed. The first thing the Psalmist encourages us to do is to trust in the Lord. This truth really got to the crux of my heart since it asked me to trust Him with an area of painful concern that appears as yet, unaddressed. How do we find it possible to trust in the Lord at a place where our prayers have gone unanswered for so long? In Psalm 37, the Psalmist reminds us that God is aware of the wickedness that affects us and our loved ones. “For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:28). “Trust” in this passage means to be confident in, sure, bold, and careless. Careless, really? When cares are the weights that we cannot seem to set down, how can we actually be careless when another’s behavior is truly hurting a loved one? How can we advance from the feeling that our very wind and life have been taken from us, to taking the next breath and the next step?
I do not believe that God calls us to conjure up some spiritual formula to establish a careless heart when heavy burdens ensue. Rather, I believe that He asks us only to be raw and honest with Him about the situation and our corresponding feelings, having a willingness to trust in Him. A heart that says something like, “Lord, I am having an unbelievably difficult time trusting you in this place; however, I want to trust You with this, Jesus. Will you help my heart trust You in this place?” As I soak in this Psalm and so many of the Psalms, I see such raw honesty in the outpouring of the writers therein. Not once was God shocked or taken back by their honesty. Conversely, it seems that He delighted in their transparency. Perhaps, God knows better than we, that it is essential for some of us to really “Get it out” in His presence before our hearts can begin to be established in trust. So, loved one of God, please let your heart be encouraged as you walk through this present valley, that He will anchor your heart in trust which will lessen the weight of the cares placed upon your shoulders. He longs to carry your burdens, thus removing much of the weight you have been carrying. He will take your honest cries and heartfelt outpourings and establish your heart in being confident and sure in Him, rather than trusting in the preferred outcome. Oh, I pray for abundant grace for you to pour out all that is held-up in your heart, and for the strength to ask Him to anchor your heart in trust. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). Grace, His abundant grace to your heart, dear one, as we tread this painful path together.
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)