Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. NIV
I looked up “fret” this morning in my concordance. It appears only four times, and three of them are in this Psalm.
The Hebrew word for fret, appears to often apply to anger. Dictionary.com gives this definition, “to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like.” That’s how I’ve always used the word, but, I don’t remember ever looking it up before.
When I think about that definition through the lens of the first part of this verse, I am struck by the beauty and symmetry of this verse.
“Be still before the Lord,” that’s hard for me to do. It is hard for me to sit still, and even harder for me to still my mind and my thoughts.
“and wait patiently for him,” this, too is very difficult for me. I am not, by nature, a patient person. I’m more more the type to pray that prayer that you see on little signs on people’s desks: “Lord, give me patience, and I want it NOW.”
“Do not fret,” the verse is saying don’t feel or express worry, annoyance or discontent. Sometimes, I am successful at hiding my worry, annoyance or discontent, but not often. So, I’m not so good at the “don’t express” part. But, the more interesting piece to me is this “Don’t fret — don’t feel worry; don’t feel annoyance; don’t feel discontent.” I can’t do that without God’s help.
So, if I am to succeed in being obedient to the command of this verse, I must go back to the first part of it. I must quiet my mind, I must be still before God, I must give my worries over to Him so that when things happen that try my patience, I won’t even feel the emotions of fretting.
I want that. I want that kind of power over worry and all of its associated emotions.
My prayer today is that God will help me to be obedient to this verse.