Life for me is pretty peaceful right now. I am happy and content. Yet, I know at times I can be a worrier. Even though I've been telling myself to "give it to God" for years (and years), some days are better than others. So this morning's devotional spoke strongly to me. Strongly enough I knew almost immediately this post would be written.
I suppose worrying is not all bad. If it gets you and me up off our respective rear ends to correct something that is within our control, good. But I think we all know that's not what I'm writing about.
Before I go further, it should be noted that making the decision not to fret, does not mean those (some valid, some probably not) concerns magically disappear. If I were to allow myself, I could list numerous worries, and get myself all wound up, in under 30 seconds. Unfortunately, I cannot turn off that woe is me feeling in the same 30 seconds. So I try not to go there. Not fretting is a choice.
The devotional I was reading this morning is part of a short series called "Fully Satisfied In His Love" by Thistlebend Ministries. A portion of it was focused on the promises made in Psalms 37:3-7. An oft quoted verse is found in this passage (verse 4, KJV):
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Without typing out each verse, you can see the kinds of promises being made in this passage of Psalms. What my attention was drawn to is found as verse 7:
Rest in (be silent to) the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself
This one sparked me to go back and read the whole chapter, so I put down the kindle and opened up the Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible (NKJV), as well as the almost-as-old-as-I-am King James Bible given to me by my grandparents. (Can you tell I was a highlighting junkie when I was younger?)
Some preacher teachers (not intended to be a derogatory term) use this passage to speak on jealousy. In general. Like, you shouldn't be upset when your neighbor gets a new car. As Charles Stanley wrote,
Jealousy…can poison good relationships, ruin our witness, and keep us from experiencing God's blessings.
And I believe he's right. I also think Psalms 37 is more than that. Just look at verses 1 and 2 (emphasis mine):
1. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
More than the jealousy you might have toward your neighbor and his/her new car, right? I love what Matthew Henry had to say. Bear with me, as he's a bit wordy.
We are here cautioned against discontent at the prosperity and success of evil-doers… Now, 1. When we look abroad we see the world full of evil-doers and workers of iniquity, that flourish and prosper, that have what they will and do what they will, that live in ease and pomp themselves and have power in their hands to do mischief to those about them. So it was in David’s time; and therefore, if it is so still, let us not marvel at the matter, as though it were some new or strange thing. 2. When we look within we find ourselves tempted to fret at this, and to be envious against these scandals and burdens, these blemishes and common nuisances, of this earth. We are apt to fret at God, as if he were unkind to the world and unkind to his church in permitting such men to live, and prosper, and prevail, as they do. We are apt to fret ourselves with vexation at their success in their evil projects. We are apt to envy them the liberty they take in getting wealth, and perhaps by unlawful means, and in the indulgence of their lusts, and to wish that we could shake off the restraints of conscience and do so too… Yet that is not all; for, 3. When we look forward with an eye of faith we shall see no reason to envy wicked people their prosperity, for their ruin is at the door and they are ripening apace for it… The flourishing of a godly man is like that of a fruitful tree, but that of the wicked man is like grass and herbs, which are very short-lived. They will soon wither of themselves. Outward prosperity is a fading thing, and so is the life itself to which it is confined. They will sooner be cut down by the judgments of God. Their triumphing is short, but their weeping and wailing will be everlasting.
To be honest, I really don't like the terms envious and/or jealous in this context. How dare anyone say I am envious of the drug dealers (illegal or "legal") that conduct an immoral, crime-filled business! Right? But don't get hung up on that. Have you ever thought it unfair these people profit (greatly!) from their deeds? And wondered why they profit (greatly!) while the God-fearing, law abiding citizens struggle to make ends meet? That is the area where we are being told to fret not.
And I dare say this can be applied on any scale. Going back to the seemingly mundane, mentioned earlier, of course. And all the way to the terrorism that threatens and desires to take over the world today. Again, we would never say we are envious of them. Yet, it's not "fair" the power they seem to hold. And, it's not "fair" the millions of dollars funneled into their cause from outside sources.
But fret not.
12. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13. The Lord shall laugh at him: for He seeth that his day is coming.
14. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
The loss of life is gut wrenching and heart breaking. I do not think we should live in la-la land, waiting on God to rid the world of evil. I believe we are to stand with Him and confront it. I believe we should be mindful and watchful, protecting our physical selves. And I also believe we should guard our hearts. It is in this vein, where I will decide to fret not.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs happy. Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too! The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.