The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
I can easily tell when my life is out of balance. I either find myself waking up in the middle of the night wrestling with seemingly intractable issues; or struggling to ‘be still’ before God during the times I have intentionally set aside for that purpose; or both!
I am sad to confess that I am in one of those times. Perhaps it’s because of the impending trip to Rwanda next week; or the new developments that are before us this fall (and, of course, need my ‘nurturing’ to reach their full potential!); or because Janis and I have decided to wait until the end of August to take our summer break, and my energy is running low; or perhaps because of all these things and more, I find myself distracted and stirred up.
Then I read Psalm 37 this morning as part of the Daily Office and found myself asking some helpful questions (if you have not yet read Psalm 37 today, take some time to do so now).
David, the elderly and wise King, counsels his people in a time of great crisis and exhorts them to stop ‘fretting’ because of their circumstances and to start ‘trusting’ because of their God (that is the great choice he leaves us with, especially in the first half of the psalm which is set for this morning’s reading).
As I read the psalm again this morning and reflected on David’s words, I found myself asking: In the midst of difficult circumstances, ‘Where is my focus?’, and ‘Who has my attention?’
When I wake up in the middle of the night, or when I find myself distracted as I intentionally quiet myself in God’s presence, it is clear that my focus is on the circumstances that confront me, my attention is on the those people or things or issues that threaten ME – the emphasis always comes back to ME! It is MY circumstances, and My being threatened by those circumstances, and MY anger and rage that arises because of MY experience of being so threatened, that commands my focus and my attention.
What is David’s counsel? ‘Trust in the LORD…. Delight yourself in the LORD…. Commit your way to the LORD…. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…’ In other words, he counsels us to take our focusoff of our circumstances and turn it onto the Lord of our circumstances; Take our attention off of ourselves and turn it to the One who made us, and who made us forHimself!
That is the fundamental choice we have to make in our circumstances- in all of our circumstances, both good and bad! The fact that we have such a choice is a good thing, a gracious thing. If God did not will it and enable it, we would not have that choice! But he does!
Now we must choose to act on it; even in the midst of the difficulties!
It was good to be reminded of that this morning.