How Then Shall We Live?
Devotions on Living the Deeper Christian Life
“Delight yourself in the Lord; trust in him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” – Psalm 37: 4-7
WHEN TROUBLE COMES
There is a time in the life of every Christian when they will find themselves asking the question, “What in the world is God doing in my life?”
These verses in Psalm 37 were written as a meditation addressing the question of the prosperity of the wicked. It is written as a poem built upon an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet, meaning that each sentence starts with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet and continues in order all the way through.
This would also mean that the Psalmist must have had plenty of time to think about what he was writing in view of the circumstances in his life. Can you imagine how much time would go into writing a letter of advice to a friend who was hurting, starting each sentence with a letter of the alphabet?
In difficult times, it is a great comfort to know that others before us have gone through similar difficulties and have tried to share their struggles with us so that others may learn from their testimonies. John Bunyun (1628 – 1688) wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress at the age of forty-seven during six months of incarceration at Bedford Prison. I’m sure he asked the question, “What in the world is God doing in my life?”
History tells us that “Pilgrim’s Progress” went on to become the second bestselling book in all history next to the Bible. God knew what He was doing with Bunyun’s hardships. He sees things from Eternal perspective. God knew that Bunyun’s suffering would in the future bless thousands in the future. He would later write these words, “God alone is able by Himself to put the soul into a more blessed, comfortable and happy condition than can the whole world; yea, and more than if all the created happiness of all the angels of heaven did dwell in one man’s bosom. I cannot tell what to say… The life, the glory, the blessedness, the soul-satisfying goodness that is in God, are beyond all experience.”
Here is some good advice in times of questioning what God is doing in your life, or when you’re just not sure what your course of action you should take in a given situation.
There are four things that you must do according to the Psalmist in chapter 37. I have added the Hebrew translation for some of the words below for better amplification of these verses:
1. “Delight yourself in the Lord; (Delight: to be happy about, take exquisite delight, to make merry over, make sport of).
2. Trust in Him and He will do this; (Trust: – trust with, confidence, secure, confident, bold, careless). He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Cause: Petition, desire, and request).
3. Be still before the Lord (Still/Rest: Silence, still, silent, cut off, cut down, rest, cease, forbear, peace, quieted, tarry, wait).
4. Wait patiently for Him” (Wait Patiently: Pain, formed, bring forth, be pained, tremble, travail, dance, grieved, grievous, wounded, shake 2). Such a diversity of feelings allowed in the translation of waiting patiently.) – Psalm 37: 4-7
God wants us to wait patiently on Him. He is no idle husbandman. In the Hebrew text, this waiting can be compared to the same expectation a child has on Christmas morning waiting to open presents. Yet, how many of us wait for God in that posture as we are experiencing difficult trials? It is so against our nature not to panic or become anxious. Why then, does God ask us to be wait and be patient when trouble comes?
It is because God wants us to believe and experience that He truly does have our lives in our hands; He really is mindful of us, and He knows what’s best for us. Simply, He LOVES us.
There is no trial or hardship that comes into our lives that He does not allow. Therefore, He has planned to bestow the grace and the courage needed for us to have victory in our hour of struggles. He wants us to run to him as a shelter from the storm, for He provides the safety we seek.
Delighting yourself in the Lord in the midst of difficult trials is a choice. You can choose to worry and be discouraged this day, or you can choose to have God that as your refuge and strength. Choose this day to delight in the Lord, trust in Him, be patient and know that He is God.
He hears the cries of your heart. It may not seem like it, but this burden that you are struggling with is best suited for you and will prove over time most effective to make you stronger and work to the glory of God.
<>————<> W O R D S OF W I S D O M <>—————<>
<>–STILL SMALL VOICE–<>
“Rest, Rest, Rest in God’s love. The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.”– Madame Jeanne Guyon.”
<>–THE GREAT “I AM!”…–<>
“I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking to me.
‘My name is I AM.’ He paused. I waited. He continued.
“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I WAS.’
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. My name is not ‘I WILL BE.’
When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is ‘I AM.’
– Helen Mallicoat