Day 7: Psalms for Fearful Times

Fear and Faith by John Lautermilch

Today’s Reading
Psalms 37, 49, 91

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
– Psalm 37:39

Although the world is full of suffering,
it is also full of the overcoming of it.- Helen Keller

Literally speaking, courage comes from the Latin cor, meaning heart. So when I open up to any experience fully, with courage — our whole heart — it naturally opens me up to a deep love. The blind musician Facundo Cabral said it beautifully: “If you are filled with love, you can’t have fear,” he said, “because love is courage.” – Viral Mehta

Observation
Psalm 37 is one of many scriptures which have been abused by those preaching the Gospel of Health and Wealth. According to them, if you are right with God then nothing bad will happen to you- no health problems, no relational problems, no financial problems. You will “live in the land, and enjoy security” (vs 3), “he will give you the desires of your heart” (vs 4), and they will “delight themselves in abundant prosperity” (vs 11). Far too often, they take scriptures like this out of context as a proof text for false teaching. Righteous living and the action of God are relegated to a simplistic cause and effect, more like the concept of karma in eastern religions. Taken to an extreme, God is required, even forced, to bless the actions of the righteous.

So what do Christians believe? We believe all people experience hardship and trouble, including the faithful. We believe the causes of suffering are sometimes easy to identify and sometimes not. We recognize bad things happen, sometimes because of our actions or inaction (sin), sometimes because of the action/inaction/sin of others including people, systems, and institutions, and sometimes because we live in a broken world. The forces of evil, seen and unseen, are real. Even so, God is greater. God is our refuge and strength in the day of trouble. God is steadfast and will see us through. God is faithful, true and victorious over evil.

Knowing this, how does a Christian respond to evil? Fourteen times in Psalm 37 we are reminded not to envy those who do evil or follow them, for their ways end in destruction. We instead stay the course with God for that is the path of blessing and life. In times of ease and times of difficulty, Christians hold on to God and the ways of God, including:

  • Not worrying (vs 1, 7, 8.)
  • Trusting in the Lord(vs 3, 5)
  • Doing good (vs 3, 27)
  • Taking delight in the Lord (vs 4)
  • Remaining committed to the Lord (vs 5, 31, 34)
  • Being still before the Lord, and waiting patiently for him (vs 7, 9, 34)
  • Refraining from anger, and forsaking wrath (vs 8.)
  • Providing for others in generous ways (vs 21, 26)
  • Sharing wisdom and speaking out against injustice (vs 30)

Application
Though evil may seem to win the day, trust in God. Stay the course.

Prayer
Victorious One, calm my heart when evil abounds
It races to respond, pounding with anger
Calm my heart so I can hear you above the hammering

Victorious One, calm my heart when evil abounds
It runs to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm my heart so I can find you above the fear

Victorious One, calm my heart when evil abounds
It rushes to human strength, grasping for control
Calm my heart so I can hold to your way, your truth, and your life
Amen.

***********
For a Reader’s Theater version of Psalm 37, click here

You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms. To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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