Waking up in a dark hotel room can feel utterly disorienting.
For a moment I can’t tell where I am or even determine where the light switch might be? Those wonderful blackout curtains stand guard against any light seeping into the room. After a few seconds, orientation begins to take hold, and I remember where I am. I can now reach out a hand and try to discover a switch for a nearby lamp. Maybe the lamp is not easy to locate. I try to slowly move across the room in the direction of the hotel door where a faint crack of light seeps in at the floor. Creeping along with my hands outstretched before me, I’m trying to navigate this path to find an elusive light source. Minutes tick passed, and I regret not having a flashlight or phone nearby. When the switch is finally discovered and turned on, the entire room floods with light and it changes everything.
Psalm 37 is categorized as part of the wisdom collection. I’m not sure about you, but I could use some wisdom this week. In these wisdom psalms, David shares time-honored truth about what God has taught him. Last week I looked at the role of anxiety in my life, and how fretfulness does not lead to patterns of befriending faithfulness. This section of the same psalm gives examples of perspective shifts. Suddenly everything seems different when I:
- Add light
- Add time
- Add meekness
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:6-11 ESV
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:6 ESV
Great lighting changes everything. Good photography, great video, and looking for lost things, are all made infinitely easier and better with a good source of light. Light changes my perspective. In verse 6, David talks about how my righteousness will be revealed by God’s light. Justice for me and all believers will be like the high noon sun. Nothing will be left in the dark. No bad deed will be hidden. As Christ’s follower, I know that the ultimate light of the world is Jesus. He came into the world and set me free through his death on the cross. He will return someday, and when he does it will be like the brightest high noon moment. No one will miss it to be sure. Everything will be set to rights and justice will roll forth.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Psalm 37:7 ESV
Have you ever rushed to try to take a photo? You pull out your phone and quickly tap open the camera, and then you take the shot. When I worked as a photographer for a newspaper, I learned the hard way that waiting gets the best photo. A rushed shot will be blurred or composed poorly. I can fix a great deal with a good photo editing app, but a well-taken photo is a gem.
Waiting is another thing that transforms my perspective. In verse 7, David encourages believers to be still before the Lord and wait. How often do I think I want one thing at the beginning of a season of waiting? Later I discover that something else will be better for me and those I love. David qualifies this kind of waiting to be done while being still before the Lord. What does that look like? Waiting is one thing but being still is much harder for me.
The interesting thing about waiting and being still is how much it reveals what God is doing. When I am paused and not moving, only God can work it out. It is no longer in my hands. It is perhaps the ultimate surrender. God knows that if I continue to rush about, I might mistakenly believe that I have effected change. Waiting in stillness reveals that God is the only one working, not me. Waiting in stillness might provide the margin for me to gain new information that I can’t see if I am on the move. Waiting in stillness gives me time to rest and reset.
But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:11 ESV
While God calls me to stillness, he sometimes calls me to an unlikely activity. In verse 11 the psalmist speaks of those who are meek. Meekness changes my perspective in profound ways. I love to research and read. Sometimes this causes me to arrive at a situation as an expert, full of knowledge. Meekness asks me to consider humility as a better starting point. What if I show up with more of a sense of surrender and less of the desire to control through information throwdowns? Meekness may help me to accept a new way of doing things or help me to see someone else’s point of view. Those who wear a mantle of meekness will inherit the land and be delighted in abundant peace. These promises provide a better way that proves less burdensome on my weary soul.
I serve a generous God who longs to share wisdom with me that ultimately benefits me and my people. Can some simple perspective changes help me access much-needed wisdom? How about you?
Lord, I thank you for the illumination of your presence. You promise to provide the night light of your presence in the dark. Please give my path light as you lead me and finally illuminate the whole world with justice someday. Thank you for the time you gifted me with. Help me to spend it wisely and be willing to wait on and for you in all situations. Thank you for the opportunity to choose meekness. You are worthy of my surrender, and you will prevail. Lord, would you bless me with your perspectives on every challenge. May I bring you greater glory every day? In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.