Have you ever struggled to control anger and disappointment when you see people taking shortcuts (or breaking rules) and they get ahead in the world?
As our Thursday morning prayer group prayed through Psalm 37, I was reminded that I still struggle when I see knuckleheads succeed. But it also reminded of one thing I have that they’ll never have…
Psalm 37 starts out with two prime directives (see Psalm 37:1-5). We are told to:
- not worry about the “wicked,” and
- trust in the Lord and commit everything we do to him
I’m sure that’s great advice, but frankly, when I’m upset it just sounds like something my parents used to tell me. It’s the Psalmist’s equivalent of “Just because they’re (fill in the blank) doesn’t mean you have to…” and “There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing!”
Did anyone else’s parents ever drop these gems of wisdom? (I’ll bet you have some of your own you can add).
It was hard to swallow as a kid. And if I’m really honest, it’s still hard to swallow. At least, that was the mindset I had Thursday in prayer. Then I stumbled across verse 25:
“Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” (Psa 37:25 NLT)
It occurred to me that the Psalmist’s advice (i.e., don’t worry… trust the Lord) comes from something I didn’t have as a kid: perspective!
The Psalmist has seen the Lord’s act over time. And in that time, he has never seen the godly abandoned. He has seen God comfort them… care for them… provide for them. He has seen that the Lord is good from a lifetime of experience, both in good times and bad.
He has perspective.
Perspective is rare for kids (that’s why parents seem smarter as we get older!). But perspective is also rare when I rely on my own worldview, or my own short time frame (a.k.a., the present). Sure, knuckleheads everywhere are getting ahead… but stick around!
But given time, the worlds they created came crashing down around them… just like God says these things work out:
“Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone… their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.” (Psa 37:10, 15 NLT)
And what about those who put their trust in the Lord and committed everything to Him? Well, it isn’t always easy going, but it always goes in a direction that they’ll love!
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” (Psa 37:23–24 NLT)
You know how I know that? Because when it comes to perspective, there is no greater perspective than the Creator of the universe. Who was… and is… and who will always be.
So, next time I’m tempted to get upset with those wicked knuckleheads in the world, I think I’ll rely on the most eternal perspective out there. The one that says, “Not only will everything be OK, it’s gonna be awesome!” In the meantime:
“Put your hope in the LORD. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.” (Psa 37:34 NLT)
No matter where today has you… stay the course, friends. The destination is, well… heavenly!