Easier said than done
Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSVA)
1 Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
We all worry. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who never worries. Yet the consistent message of scripture is: “Do not worry.” It also tells us not to fear, to love one another, including our enemies. It tells us to forgive 70 times 7, in other words, forgive until we have lost count! I do not believe that I am alone in struggling with all these things. While we might recognise that we would be happier, more content, and more well adjusted human beings if we did these things, our human nature fights against our better judgment. When we struggle against our instincts and attempt a more Christian response Bible verses exhorting us to do better can seem like pat answers — a simplistic response to a complex problem. We would be justified in responding “Easier said than done!” Yet the truth remains that we would be happier if we could follow these biblical injunctions.
Perhaps it would help to think of these ‘pat answers’, not as orders and exhortations, but rather as simple reminders of the ever faithful and ever-loving presence of God.
help us to have the patience to wait on you,
and the faith to believe that you will answer.
Help us to pay more attention to our own journey
than that of others.
Help us not to fret over the injustices of this world,
but rather to work for justice,
and to have faith that your justice will prevail in the end.
And in that space between worry and faith,
hurt and forgiveness,
anger and love
help us to know your comforting and sustaining presence, Amen.