I think I have topped myself for the most glaringly obvious, yet oddly random title to surface on this blog. Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by that title.
Friday night I was prayer leading my team’s Worship with the Word, and we were singing through Psalm 37. I was struck by a few verses while reading through the passage.
(Psalms 37:7-8) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret — it only causes harm.
So we have the exhortation: Don’t worry. Be at rest. Do we understand what that means? Do we even know how to stop worrying and be at rest?
Here’s where I think we tend to get off-track. When we hear “do not worry”, we think something more like “Hakuna Matata”. All we know is that it means no worries for the rest of our days… our problem-free philosophy. Why sweat over stuff? Just relax. Chill out. Stop being so high strung.
That sounds like a good idea, but if it were that easy to stop worrying, we would be a lot less anxious a lot more of the time. I know that when I try to stop worrying, it never goes well. I start by trying not to think about the problem. But of course, by trying not to think about something, I actually call that thing to mind and begin dwelling on it. My emotions get worked up. I try to calm myself down. But in any battle of wills with myself, I always lose (funny how that works), and so in the end, I end up worrying about how much I worry. It’s a pretty ridiculous cycle. I suppose some people can shove their problems to their emotional back burner, but I’m not sure if willfully blind denial counts as “no worries”.
But in this Psalm, King David isn’t telling us, “Hakuna matata. Just chill out.” He gives us a reason not to fret. Let’s give these verses just a touch more context:
(Psalms 37:7-10) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret — it only causes harm. 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.
David advises his readers not to fret about how wicked people seem to do so shockingly well at life just by being wicked. We’re not to lose sleep over people who succeed at sin, whether in the general sense of justice or in wronging us personally. But he doesn’t say we need to just get over ourselves and quit being a worrywart. He gives us a reason: evildoers will be cut off. Every wicked person who makes themselves wildly successful by means of darkness will ultimately receive their just recompense. Yet even more exciting than that is to know that those who wait on the LORD will inherit the earth.
It doesn’t ultimately matter if a selfish coworker one-ups me for a promotion that I really deserved, because at the end of the day I’m going to be helping rule the planet. If someone rips me off, even as it genuinely grieves me, in the grand scheme of things, I have an untouchable inheritance. Why should I panic over a temporal blip on the radar? Why should I freak out about someone stealing twenty bucks from me when I know I am about to inherit a hundred million dollars? This isn’t to say that the offense isn’t painful, and it isn’t to say that it’s not actually a big deal, but instead, it doesn’t have the final word in my life.
Rather than worry, I have a more constructive outlet for my emotional energy: waiting on the God of justice who makes all things right, the God who upholds my cause. It’s the exact same principle of Revelation 6:10-11, the cry of the martyrs:
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
The martyrs are told to wait it out a little while longer, to weather a little more of the storm; yet only for a little while until full restitution is made.
So to state it briefly, “resting” in the Lord is not a passive, carefree thing. It means actively waiting on Him (fasting and prayer) and trusting Him to make every injustice right in your life. It doesn’t mean the injustice is insignifcant — it just means that justice will be established for every follower of Christ. It’s a sure thing. We don’t have to scratch and claw away for our own sakes, because our Lord will wage war for us. We don’t have to panic about our enemies, because our God will win, which means that we win.
Or in other words, don’t let animated meerkats determine your theology. 😉