Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fret not thyself...

From the Psalmist...
[A Psalm] of David. Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring [it] to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. ...  For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked [shall be] no [more]; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it [shall be] no [more]. Ps 37 select verses (NKJV)
The Brothers Tsarnaev, Jodie Arias, Kermit Gosnell, a draconian IRS; it has been quite a ride these last 30 or so days.  I suspect that as you read the names in the previous sentence, you experienced a gamut of reactions ranging from anger to tears.  Troubling still is the fact that perpetrators of this type seem to become more and more commonplace as we barrel blindly down a dark path in our post-Christian society.

The temptation to despair looms large and gets easier when we read of bad actors like these.  But its not just the bad actors, its also the constant barrage of what I call "moral misdemeanors" that grab at our pant legs and try tripping us.  Where we may never have a first person encounter with a Jodi Arias, we will certainly suffer betrayals, back-stabbings, lies and insults.  The former is like a sucker-punch from behind while the latter is like a rain of gravel that simply grinds us down.  In these moments of both national tragedy or personal disappointment, I find David's words in Psalm 37 to be a faithful life jacket, buoying me upwards and keeping me from sinking into the deep.

David's words in this Psalm are can be direct and succinct, and I can almost envision them  as bullet statements on a PowerPoint presentation.  It is as if David were reminding us of two very important facts:  The Lord has the saint's back, and the the wicked's number.  But, this is an oversimplification that sells the psalm way short.

Psalm 37 is packed with imperatives that would serve to take our eyes and hearts off of the transgressor and onto the Almighty and his goodness.  Trust, delight, dwell, commit; these are all calling us towards a proactive pressing into the heart of God.  As we do this, we begin to experience a divine focal realignment away from the one(s) who momentarily stole our joy and onto the the true wellspring of that joy.

Unless we are duly appointed judges, very few of us are in a position to pursue and punish evil.  So really, getting or staying wound up over it is a fool's errand and a source of unnecessary stress.  Rest assured, our God is a God of pure, holy and perfect justice; He who brings all things to pass will vindicate the saint and punish the scoundrel.  Our task while He moves according to His times are to seek Him, press into Him, abide in Him and strive for faithfulness to Him.

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