“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against 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; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Psalm 37:1-3)
Lately there seems to be an almost incredible amount of angst in the air. The word means an unfocused and vague yet deep sense of anxiety or dread, most often concerning the human condition or even the state of the world generally.
After all, it seems inordinately difficult these days to connect with any good news!
I have to admit that in these times very often I find myself in this vague and relentless uneasiness. Sometimes it seems like what a hunted creature must feel when it senses it is being stalked by a cobra. There are times when this sense of dread comes on even as an overwhelming fatigue.
Many people are feeling this to an unusual degree. One has to wonder, what time is it really? Is this “the” end time, or at the very least an apocalyptic moment in the cosmos? Frankly, at this defining moment, anyone with his eyes open can see that evil has the upper hand in almost every area of the world. Maybe it’s been hiding in the bushes all along, but now it has shown itself in blatant obviousness.
I won’t rehearse the litany of how all that looks here and now. The angst seems to be exacerbated by everything from personal issues to international politics and more – all at the same time!
Enough people seem to have the job of being the harbinger of the bad news, whether “mainstream” or “alternative”. Perhaps I listen too much to too many distressing reports. It doesn’t help. One stops watching television, only to have reports come through “friends” via electronic social media.
Yet should we stick our heads in the sand and pretend, as some do, that none of this exists and go on in our myopic, self absorbed pretense? Or should we send around cute little memes which romanticize and marginalize the situation with pictures of fairies and butterflies. “Don’t worry; be happy”? Not very effective approaches.
As I walked past the little table where my Bible sits next to a pad of paper, it was somehow opened, two chapters beyond where I’d stopped in my meditations on the Psalms, to the above verse on a day when I’d been unable to stop fretting about the general pervasive evil, with its gaping mouth open to devour our nation and even our world. It’s as if the angst could not be shut off! No “panic attacks” for me – just this low level roar of some rising tsunami within.
Why can’t I see you, Jesus, walking across that storm and taking command of it?
When my eyes fell upon it, it was like that command – “Fret not thyself! I’ve got this!”
Again I was reminded about how often we need to simply hear His promises – and there are many, applicable to all of our “impossible” situations. It’s not always a matter of simply reading them, but there are moments when He comes along and that Still Small Voice inwardly reminds us, as He reminded Elijah in his overwhelming distress, “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1Kings 19:11,12)
Not only did He amply provide a strong reminder today that He was not in any of these troubles or the troublemakers, but He will use all of that to reveal His glory and power, and to make good His promises to provide for His own, and will, one way or another, put an end to the causes of distress.
His words to disciples: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin… your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Taken from Matthew 6:25-34)