May 7, 2020 by Steven Lulich
“Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him, and He will act.
He will bring forth your
Righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.”
I have recently been a bit out of sorts. I’ve been tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, uncertain. How long will we need to stay at home? When will it be safe again? Am I going to have to teach an entire semester online in the Fall? Can I wrap up this semester successfully? Why are new and unexpected jobs still piling up? Will the kids ever sleep an entire night? Can I come through for my colleagues? Am I a man of my word? Am I self-disciplined? Am I a good father? Am I a good husband? Why am I struggling so much right now?
I know that I am not the only person dealing with issues like these. During this time of pandemic and social isolation, we are all facing new realities at home and at work, and sometimes the challenges and stresses of these new realities boil over. We are constantly living at the edge of failure in any number of ways.
In reality, living at the edge of failure is probably normal, but we don’t notice it because we feel in control. I know what my job requires, and I know what my schedule is, and I know how to do the work. I know when I will be home, when my wife will be home, and when my children will be home. We have a routine, a schedule. I know what time we need to be at church (and I know that we will probably still be late). We are lulled by our habits and routines into a kind of unheeded lethargy, and we forget that all of our ways are before God, and in His hands (Psalm 119:168). It is amazing how severely one little virus can shake us from our slumber.
In spite of our habits and routines, our lives and livelihoods are not in our own hands, and never were. To believe that we are in control is foolishness (Proverbs 28:26). “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” God is in control, and the best thing we can do is trust in Him, and commit our lives and livelihoods to Him. “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil” (Psalm 37:8b).
It seems that most commentators interpret Psalm 37:6 as a vindication of the righteous man’s character: “He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” This may well be true, but I think there are bigger fish to fry here. “Our” righteousness and “our” justice refer not to our own character, but to God’s salvation of our own selves (Rom. 1:17, 3:24). God will steer the ship of our lives safely into port, in the clear light of day, if we will only give Him the wheel.
Why was I struggling recently? My gaze had turned inward, and I was feeling the reality of my failures, as if I were in control. I think the words of the hymn A Mighty Fortress Is our God are a wonderful reminder of God’s sovereignty and our need to commit our ways to the Lord and trust in Him.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
He – not we – must win the battle. As the disruptions to our lives and the uncertainties of the future continue throughout this pandemic, in spite of the challenges, the frustrations, the lack of sleep, the loneliness, the chaos – whatever you are experiencing – “fret not yourself.” Remember to pause and recommit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act for you.