Last night, my husband and I watched a video of a large boat maneuvering through icy waters. Small and large icebergs surrounded the vessel as it moved slowly, but steadily, forward. All I could think of was the Titanic.
This boat, though, cruised safely through the dangerous waters and emerged safely on the other side. I didn’t see people running about the ship frantically calling for help. Nor did I see the boat stopping midway in a state of uncertainty and fright. A skillful captain and navigator, effectively using the tools and equipment he had, worked to complete the successful journey. Whew!
That was the picture in my head this morning as I began to read Psalm 37.
In this psalm, David acknowledges the danger that encompasses us every day. There are people who wish to hurt, and evil that lies in wait to entrap and persecute.
Just like that boat moving through the icebergs, we maneuver through dangerous circumstances and places in life. We may or may not, like David, be navigating times of persecution, but we all have icebergs in our lives.
On most people’s minds today is ‘the virus’ (COVID-19). It has taken over life as we know it, and there are many icebergs that we must move through.
To mask, or not to mask?
To hug, or not to hug?
Is it safe to shop, safe to go to the doctor for an appointment?
What is safe?
Is the reporting true?
Will I offend someone if I don’t agree with them?
How long is this going to last?
Can I make it financially?
What if I get sick?
Put your own worry in here.
Back to Psalm 37. David acknowledges the problems in this life, but he also notes actions that will help us get through these dangerous waters – without fretting.
The first one is “fret not” (verse 1). This is similar to the repeated command in God’s word to “fear not”, but this carries the connotation of worry. Fret not.
Easier said than done, right?
This command (yes, it is a command) doesn’t just compel us to just grit our teeth and refuse to worry. Instead, we replace the action of fretting with positive actions that honor God. Here are some from Psalm 37:
- Trust in the Lord (verse 3) – Duh. But you know what? Sometimes I have to remind myself multiple times during a day (or minute) that I am not in charge here. God is bigger than me, and He knows a lot more than I do. I can trust Him!
- Do good (verse 3) – We have a pretty good idea of what is good. Instead of trying to define it, we just need to get busy doing it, whether we are at home or out in the world.
- Delight in the Lord (verse 4) – This is more than just trusting. This is finding pleasure in God, in His way, in His presence. This is the joy of knowing Him.
- Commit your way to the Lord (verse 5) – Once again, God knows my way better than I do. I can follow His direction, and He will lead me through.
- Trust in Him (verse 5)
- Rest in the Lord (verse 7) – This does not mean stay in bed. It does mean that I can move confidently about my day knowing that God is in control.
- Wait patiently for Him (verse 7) – We may not see the answer today, but we will.
- Fret not (verse 7) – He really meant this.
- Cease from anger and forsake wrath (verse 8) – Let’s face it. Some of us are pretty upset about the mess going on.
- Fret not in any way to do evil. (verse 8) Remember verse three where He said to “Do good”?
We are only at verse eight, and there is MUCH more in this psalm. I am going to stop here, though, and encourage you to read the psalm for yourself several times over the next few days. This is one of my favorites, and I have over half of it underlined. So much encouragement!
Let’s skip to the end of the story. A skillful captain navigated that ship around those icebergs. We have a Captain Who can and will guide us safely through the icebergs of this life – even “the virus”. Look at verses 39 and 40.
Psalm 39:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
Today, fret not. We have too much else to do!
Note: The verses I have quoted here are from the King James version of the Bible. The version you read may or may not use the word ‘fret’. That’s okay. READ THE ENTIRE PSALM, and see if you don’t find plenty (besides worrying) to keep you busy. And see if you don’t find light and encouragement for the day.
Photo: Butterfly by the Road ©Beth Mims