I have been doing a 40 day prayer guide that is based on working through the book of Psalms.
They are speaking to me as are the prayers of the woman who put this together.
I often find comfort and encouragement in the Psalms. The words seem to grab hold of my experiences and emotions but they also give language for me to use to praise God. They offer hope and inspiration but this week I also got a good dose of conviction.
As I was driving to work, and as we all know…with fervent prayers that all lights remained green…cars were whipping around me like I was standing still.
I was going the speed limit plus the expected extra 4 miles per hour that keeps you under the radar and yet car after car went weaving in and out around me and anyone else who was remotely trying to obey the law.
And as salt rubbed in a wound….some of these zipped through yellow lights just in time while I got stuck…time and again by the red lights.
Not a policeman in sight, one by one these people sailed off through the town while I simmered at intersections waiting for the signal change.
And as I did a slow burn, words from my morning Scripture reading rose up in my heart.
“Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked…”
Immediately all kinds of thoughts rose up from inside of me in response…first off, it seemed kind of harsh to think of these speed-demons…I mean fellow road warriors…as really doing EVIL…
and then I wanted to protest that I certainly didn’t envy them…I was angry that they were getting ahead by breaking the law.
God’s Word wielded that sharp edge we hear about as I realized that my “fretting” was a thin disguise for an underlying, and alarmingly weird, form of envy.
Conviction stinks, doesn’t it?
The way it exposes the ugly in my soul can leave me reeling as yet more of my old nature is dredged up and de-scummified.
But confession is a beautiful thing.
And as I acknowledged that, in some bizarre way, my little tantrum about how unfair it was that they were exceeding the speed limit to a dangerous level and were getting away with it was actually a sick form of evil-envy, I felt a release of the anger and that wave of forgiveness that always accompanies grace.
I began to praise God for who He is and found so many things to be thankful for…including that I actually did make it to work on time.
Every day we have to face the reality that people who do wrong things do not always get caught.
And people who do the right thing can get penalized for it.
It is frustrating and can leave us shaken at the injustice of it all.
But Faith looks to God and says…He sees…He knows…He is a rewarder of those who do right and for those who do wrong there will be justice.
Faith says God will take care of whatever needs to be righted and I can trust Him and just REST in Him by leaving the rest to Him <3
Faith doesn’t look forward to the payback for those who are doing wrong but looks upward to pray for them.
Faith trusts that the reward may not be seen this side of heaven and faith keeps walking in obedience.
Faith doesn’t fret or worry or stew because of what is going on…faith presses on and presses in.
Faith says…It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing…what I do, I do for the glory of God <3
I recommend all of Psalm 37 but here is just a little bit to get you started …
Never envy the wicked!
Soon they fade away like grass and disappear.
Trust in the Lord instead.
Be kind and good to others; then you will live safely here in the land and prosper, feeding in safety.
Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him to help you do it, and he will.
Your innocence will be clear to everyone.
He will vindicate you with the blazing light of justice shining down as from the noon day sun.
Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper.
Stop your anger!
Turn off your wrath.
Don’t fret and worry, it only leads to harm.
Psalm 37: 1 – 8 TLB