Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSV)
Verse 1Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,
Verse 2for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
Verse 3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Verse 4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Verse 5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
Verse 6He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Verse 7Be 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.
Verse 8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret-it leads only to evil.
Verse 9For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
What to do when fussing over our difficulties has us anxious, impatient, maybe even afraid?
The psalmist sometimes laments that life’s burdens are overwhelming. He sometimes fears that God has abandoned him. But not here in Psalm 37. This is straight up, “God’s got this, so stop worrying already—as if that’s helpful—and give your troubles over to God!”
The formula is straightforward. Three times David declares, “Do not fret.” Then he offers a better alternative, the response of faith.
For worry obsesses over what indeed is true, that “Life is too much for only me.” But faith—which depends not upon ourselves but is given and sustained by God—trusts in, takes delight in, commits its way to, trusts again, is still before, waits patiently for God, for the One who promises, “Those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”
Our Father, who art in heaven, THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. O God, when we are anxious and find that fretting about things doesn’t make anything better, help us instead to trust and wait for you. Amen.