I’ve had a cold for almost two weeks now and I’m in need of a nap, so keeping this short today.
Much like this cold, there are things that I cannot seem to shake. Maybe you’ve got some of those things in your life. The conversations that echo in your mind. The unjust situations that were never resolved. The feelings of anger or shame. You do your best to let it all go. You pray. You resolve to forgive. You go to therapy.
And yet, there it is, rearing its ugly head once again.
So what do you do? What are you supposed to do?
Be 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.
Refrain from anger and forsake wrath.
Do not fret – it leads only to evil.
– Psalm 37:7-8 (NRSV)
You sit with God. You hold that thing in your lap and examine it in the light of God’s grace and truth. You take the fiery rage in your soul and allow God to douse it with the cool waters of God’s love.
The word for “fret” here is חָרָה, chârâh (khaw-raw’), meaning “to be hot, furious, become angry, be kindled, be incensed.” It’s not mere worry or only anxiety. It’s the burning in your chest that arises when you chew on a heart wound repeatedly as a dog does a bone. It’s that sick feeling in your stomach that is connected to a longing for the kind of justice that will make them hurt like you’re hurting. It’s heavy. It’s burdensome to carry.
Hurt is real. Injustice is real. God doesn’t ask you to turn a blind eye to that or to pretend you don’t feel the way you do. God doesn’t guide any of us to ignore pain and suffering. Instead, God invites you to sit with God. To tell God all about it. To allow God to heal those wounds. And this process can and should be repeated as often and as many times as is necessary.
At this point in my life I believe that the ability to truly forgive is supernatural. It comes from God. And the only way for us to obtain and develop that ability is to stick with God, which means bringing all that heavy stuff to God over and over again if needed.
If you want to refrain from anger and forsake wrath, be still before God. If you want to stop fretting, sit with God.
It’s there we find necessary love and wisdom.
It’s there we are graced with the creativity needed to dismantle unjust systems, have difficult conversations, and take on new adventures.
GRACE AND PEACE ALONG THE WAY,
Image Courtesy of Brittany Martin
One thought on “The Thirty-Second Day of 2023”
I love Psalm 37 for precisely the reasons you stated in this fabulous piece. I haven’t been here in awhile. It’s nice to recognize your name and read your art again.