Lenten Scripture Reflection | Wednesday: Psalm 37; Hosea 6.11-7.16; Mark 3.1-35

From: Ryan Ruffing

Today’s psalm asks us to stop moving, consider what is driving us, and put our trust in the Lord alone.

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.”

For me, stopping is the hardest part. How do I grind to a halt all my frenetic rushings-around long enough to listen? How can I be still when there are so many valuable, important, and necessary tasks demanding my time? When life is moving fast I begin to believe that my activities, efforts, and contributions are the source of my life. I am a shark - unable to breathe, unless in motion. I begin to think much of myself, and little of God. To which the Lord responds simply - be still. When I listen to this command, when I stop before him, it is a refreshment to my soul.

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!”

In the psalm, King David gives us a glimpse into what is driving him - what is motivating his fretful, anxious pursuits. He is envious of those who have gotten ahead the easy way. He is tempted to grab life by the horns, and chart his own course. 

When I stop and still myself before God, he is gracious to show me the state of my inner being. Inevitably, in the pursuit of life on my terms, parts of my heart have been colonized. I have begun to believe that I am only as good as my last success - only as valuable as the last positive thought someone has had of me. I need Jesus to fashion a whip and drive the money-changers from this temple. 

“Trust in the Lord”

I need to continually return my trust to the capable hands of God. As I’m made aware of my heart’s wandering, Jesus beckons me homeward.

The psalm shows us two markers of a life of trust - obedience and delight. It is not enough to simply say “I trust in the Lord” - I need obedience, the outward evidence of my inward trust. I am often like a person on the side of the road asking directions, who upon receiving them gives loud thanks for their trustworthiness, and then goes the opposite way. Lord help me to listen closely, and to heed your instruction.

We also need to delight in the Lord. Delight is a natural companion of trust because God is our true home, and when we rest in him, we know his love, and when we know his love, the result is joy. Sadly, I am more often like a child walking through city streets, afraid because I have forgotten that my father is walking with me. Lord help me know your presence with me, and to find delight and joy in your provision. 

I live in Jamaica Plain with my wonderful wife, Libby.