“Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
don’t fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes...
“for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.”
~Psalm 37:7, 17 (TNIV).
The greatest test of our patience will generally always come in the mix of our relationships with people (with the granted exception of those ‘other’ things we wait for).
We see people routinely get ahead in their self-absorbed ways and conceitedness toward life and peer generally. We wonder when justice will rain down over these situations. And so we hope, often without end or satisfaction, before despair inevitably takes over...
Justice is coming. Justice is balance. God is balance.
This psalm talks very much about the balances of God. God is bringing about the same demise to us all, but those with their eye on the longer term will succeed most sustainably, eventually. This is God’s truth that always tends to work out over the longer haul.
But, it requires from us, faith. We do not see it coming—that which we hope for—so, in virtue, it is definitely faith. To meet the promise, joining hands with it, we must strive to be faithful.
The Patience of Faith and Manifestation of Wisdom
There is much reward in this life for our routine and functional humility; that of the patient faith that does not fret, but is stilled and sated by the promises of God. God’s will, then, becomes for us our ‘full priority situation’.
If continually bowing to the will of God is not humility, it doesn’t exist.
We believe God’s promises because it is not God’s nature to lie; neither is it good for us to not believe—for fretting achieves nothing of substance except the perpetuation of needless struggle.
Psalm 37 is a psalm of the wisdom genre for the fact that it takes the broader-life view. It commends us to accept what is now – for – what may be – in future.
Wisdom is never about taking life carte blanche and holding God to a specific manifestation of a promise—as if God were listening to, and heeding, us instead of it being the other way around. God cannot be our servant. Life just never works that way. Of course, we know the theory but it’s how it works itself out in our lives that really counts.
The Blessing of Realism
Wisdom is at last about realism; fitting our expectations around the achievable and foreseeable—our default vision, as it is, so limited and skewed.
Breaking past our own vision and into God’s vision, i.e. ‘Wisdom,’ is doing ourselves enormous favours pertaining to the life that would otherwise compare-to-others and become envious.
Wisdom from a patient trust of faith is beyond envy.
It is a forlorn track, envy, and there is no peace there. Indeed, we will also find the absence of God there.
Those after the heart of Psalm 37 will, however, know the peace, grace and joy of God.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.