“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”Psalm 37:1-2
Having a biblical perspective about this pandemic we are all currently being held hostage by, is where I find my strength, hope and courage. The Psalms in particular are a great source of this because King David was certainly acquainted with troubles and enemies throughout his lifetime. To hear that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God,” (1 Samuel 30:6b), is how we too can overcome difficult times.
I am not staring down a giant wearing armor and bearing a huge deadly sword, nor am I being hunted down by a deranged, jealous king out to kill me, but I am facing, as are you, something that is beyond my control. The coronavirus can definitely be classified as an evildoer. After all it is keeping us isolated from family and friends, wreaking havoc with our economy, and causing people to lose their jobs because of this social distancing.
Psalm 37 gives us some clear directions to follow during this season of solitude. Let’s explore the four directives given to us by God in this passage.
Trust in the Lord.
The Psalm specifically says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness,” (verse 3). “Trust in the Lord,” is something that at times we give mere lip service to, but trusting in God is a deep heart transaction. In fact, we can trust the Lord because He is sovereign over all the events of the world. Nothing happens that He does not allow or have control over. Do not get me wrong, I wrestle with this because it seems as though God is allowing this virus to have its way. God could certainly stop it from spreading. Why doesn’t He intervene? He is all-powerful, which means by His little pinky finger He could wipe out this pandemic. Easy peasy.
What good could possibly come from this? “Trust in the Lord and do good,” God can be trusted to handle this virus and the effects from social distancing because He is sovereign and all-powerful. I can trust that He has a plan. As God’s word says, what the enemy means for evil, He can turn it to good. He redeems all that He allows. I do not know about you, but I see lots of good happening all around the world. I see creativity, innovation, and love. People helping people. Doctors and nurses risking their own lives to treat the sick, people donating food and money to those who lost their jobs, parents spending lots of quality and quantity time with their kids, and more than ever the Gospel is being shared through the internet.
We can take our eyes off our personal situation, trust God and join Him in His work in our homes and communities. We can find safe pasture with our Good Shepherd, feed on His faithfulness, and trust in His promises. Some of you are already doing just that, and you are bringing out His glory.
Delight Yourself in the Lord.
Verse four says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Many of us want to skip over the first part and get right to the second part of this verse. We want the desires of our heart over delighting ourselves in the Lord. I pray that my desire is in delighting in the Lord.
God knows we have needs, and He knows what we need. Have you lost your job? God knows that. Has a loved one become sick and needing to be in the hospital and you can’t be there? God knows that. Have you lost a loved one, and only a limited number of people can sit by your side in your darkest moment? God knows that.
Are you wondering when is this all going to be over with, and life gets back to “normal”? Will it ever be back to the way things were? All these needs and desires that we have, God knows it all. As my pastor said, He is telling us to shift our focus from the temporal to the eternal. Matthew 6:33 echoes Psalm 37:4, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.”
Commit Your Way to The Lord.
“Commit your way to the Lord, and he will act,” (verse 5).
That’s a pretty powerful statement. Let’s deal with the first part of this verse. What does it mean to commit your way to the Lord? I believe it means that we commit to leaning on Him by prayer, reading and meditating on His word, and leaning into covenant community. We are to walk in the ways of Jesus Christ. We are to obey His commands. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” (John 14:15). We cannot do this apart from Christ. We must abide in Him and in His word.
What about “and he will act”? We may have trouble with this portion because of timing. We want this to be over with yesterday, not 2 months or more from now. We keep thinking, “will April 30th ever get here?” or “Will they extend the stay at home order beyond April 30th?”
Or we may be asking God, “I am doing everything right, why won’t you answer my prayers?” If I am committing my way to God, why isn’t He acting? It’s timing, and it’s in God’s timing for His purposes. We have to go back up to point number one, “trust in the Lord”. Therefore, do not miss out on what God is doing in the here and now because you are growing in impatience. Which flows into my next point…
Be Still Before the Lord…
And wait patiently for him. Need I say more? Fret not yourself. This Covid-19 will “soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb,” (vs. 1).
God has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5). Be still before the Lord every morning and recite this promise to yourself over and over again, and remember that this is a promise. God never breaks His promises.
Let me end this post by pointing out the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary. They were good friends of Jesus, and He was in their home one day. Martha was busying herself with all the details of preparing a meal. She was doing all the work while her sister was spending all her time and focusing all her attention on Jesus.
Martha begins to complain to Jesus, “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her,” (Luke 10:40-42).
This coronavirus and social distancing may be troubling you today, and may continue to bring troubles in the coming weeks and months. Many of us are experiencing grief. It may have taken your job or will take your job, it has separated you from your loved ones, it may have taken a loved one, or held you hostage in fear and anxiety, but you have a choice. Will you remain anxious and troubled, or will you choose the good portion? Will you choose Jesus? He will never be taken away from you.