December 09, 2015

Do Not Fret

Psalm 37:1-9

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways.

—  Psalm 37:7

We were in line at a discount store to make a small purchase. When our turn came, something went wrong with the register. The clerk reset the system only to have the problem happen again. She then helpfully suggested that we move to another register, not knowing that a complicated return and exchange was being processed there. As we waited, I could see the line we’d just left begin to move. I got annoyed. The purchase we were making no longer seemed worth the wait. I wanted to put it on a shelf and just leave. I was tempted to act in ways that I would regret later.

“Do not fret,” the psalmist says, “when people succeed in their ways.” The psalmist is talking about bigger problems than mere annoyances in a checkout line. The psalmist is thinking about people who succeed even though they care nothing for God. When such people prosper while the righteous wait, God’s people can be tempted to get out of line or act in ways that dishonor their maker.

None of the people in that store were evildoers. Each one was doing their job and even trying to be helpful. But I got annoyed anyway. Sometimes the small annoyances in life test our character the most.

“Do not fret,” the psalmist says. “It leads only to evil.”

Faithful God who makes the righteous shine like the dawn, help us to be still and to wait patiently, trusting that you will give us the desires of our hearts, in line with your will. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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