How do you beat fret? As we’ve seen in recent posts, Psalms 37 is instructive when it comes to wrestling with the anxiety and stress that seem to rush in at us almost from the moment we step out of bed. David, the author of this Psalm, is careful to warn us no less than three times, “Do not fret, “ because, “…it only causes harm.” (v8) The key in actually living without fret centers on a change in our mental diet: “…feed on His faithfulness,” not on fret! (v3) Practically, this works itself out in three ways.
The first is worship. It’s the one thing you and I can always do no matter what is happening around us. We can still worship and delight ourselves in God even when all hell is breaking loose . (v4) The Apostle Paul and Silas experienced the power of this when they worshiped while being chained to a prison wall. (Acts 16) This is an incredible reality! There is literally nothing – no hardship, no situation, no obstacle, no threat, nothing in the spiritual or natural world, not even prison! -that can stop us from worshiping! We are never out of options because we can always worship.
Secondly, we walk it out. This incarnates our worship. While worship is the one thing we can always do, walking it out is the one decision that changes every other decision. David tells us in verse 5, “Commit your way to the Lord.” As we make the decision ahead of time to commit our way, to walk according to the Word, it changes every other decision. We need not flounder or be double-minded in our course of action when faced with difficulty, not if we’ve already decided to commit our way to the Lord. We simply need to walk that out.
Finally, there is the one place that makes all the difference. Verse 7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” Now, I’ll admit, I don’t like waiting for anything! I don’t like waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting on a table, waiting on hold…Waiting is no fun, and it’s probably one of the hardest places to live in. When you don’t see God moving, things changing, or anyone noticing, it begins to test everything in you. But look again at verse 7. Did you notice that it says to Rest and Wait patiently? Resting and waiting don’t seem to fit together, do they? Waiting is hard enough, but resting and waiting patiently? Really? As I reflect on this verse in my own life I know there have been so many times when I never entered the rest because I wasn’t willing to wait. If we’ve chosen to worship, and decided to walk this thing out according to God’s Word, and if we’re willing to wait on Him, then we’ll discover the rest we’ve been looking for. It strikes me that rest is the exact opposite of fret.
Waiting is not inactivity, but rather leaning into intimacy with the Father. It is the patient pursuit of God’s very best. Right here is the place where most of us jump ship, but right here is the place that can make all the difference.
Like waiting for fruit to ripen, there is no substitute for right timing. Often, there are things the Lord will teach and impart to us that can only be received as we discipline ourselves to wait, to patiently pursue His very best in our lives. If you are in a season of waiting, learn to rest in it rather than rush through it. Ask the Lord what He has for you during this time. If God seems to be taking His time you can bet it’ll be worth the wait!