THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS
Read Psalm 37, underline the words and phrases you want to remember and consider these reflections:
Legend has it that an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent a sentence, to be ever in view, and which would be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” The expression was made popular in the Western world due to a retelling of ancient Persian stories by English poet Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883). Abraham Lincoln called the phrase to mind when he addressed the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society on September 30, 1859, then added: “How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” True, it is not a Biblical expression, but it is appropriate to remember that whatever crises and troubles godly people face today, these trials are temporary. They will pass! Sickness, financial setbacks and the death of loved ones will come to an end. Better days are coming! In the words of David, the ancient king of Israel: “Fret not yourself because of evil doers… for they will soon fade like the grass…. 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.” (Psalm 37:1-2, 5-6).
Our families, our friends and the Lord’s church need an anchor that will give strength to carry on. All of us struggle with discouragement, fear and doubt when we realize that COVID-19 is not a respecter of persons. No one enjoys having to “self-quarantine” at home or to make sure we practice “social distancing” while around others. This is not the lifestyle we would choose. Our children want to go back to school. Adults want to be able to visit their aged mothers and fathers in the nursing home. Worshipers want to be able to meet together on the Lord’s Day. Brokers want the stock market to stabilize. Investors want their portfolios to restore financial security. Soul-winners want to go into the homes of people willing to study the Scriptures. The bereaved want to be able to get together to eulogize loved ones. The unemployed want to find work. Those contemplating suicide want to find hope. People all over the world would like to discover peace again.
As a photographer needs to adjust the camera lens to make sure things are in focus, we need to look at life through the lens of faith. In Psalm 37 we are reminded us that God knows all about us and when we “commit our way” to Him, He will “give you the desires of your heart” (verse 5-6). The “meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace” (verse 11). Meekness is an important concept. It describes how a trainer of horses “breaks” the wild and strong-willed stallion through daily discipline. Becoming “meek” means allowing God to take charge of our lives like a horse yields to the control of its trainer. The present crisis can be the discipline we need so we can “inherit the land and delight in abundant peace.” We must “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (verse 7).
God’s people receive a multitude of spiritual blessings––our greatest need–– even if some physical wants are denied. “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked” (verse 16). Those who rely on their own mental and physical stamina for comfort will find that their arms will not support them. However, the righteous knows the arms that hold him up are the mighty arms of God (verse 17). “Underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). When his closest friends abandoned the apostle Paul he realized “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17). Let all of us who stagger under the weight of heavy burdens, allow the Lord to “establish” our “steps,” so even though we may stumble, it will be only for a moment; we will not be “cast headlong, for the Lord upholds our hand” (verse 23-24). When the law of God is in our hearts, our “steps do not slip” (verse 31).
After serving Christ for 78 years, I can testify to the truthfulness of David’s observation: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken” (verse 25).
Truly, “there is a future for the man of peace” (verse 27)! God is our stronghold “in the time of trouble” (verse 39).