Angst and Anger

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil" (Psalm 37:7-8).

We have all "fretted" about the rise of evil and how different things are now. We feel the impotence of helplessness, the frustration of confusion, and even the anger of "why doesn't the Lord do something?"

That's the emotional attitude Psalm 37 is addressing. Our English word "fret" has lost some of its poignancy. The Hebrew word charah means to be "hot" or "incensed" or "burning" -- just plain mad! Fortunately, the psalmist offers a prescription for the pain.

Five Calming Cures

"Trust in the Lord, and do good" (Psalm 37:3). There are two sides to this cure. One is intellectual -- trust (Psalm 118:8-9), the other is practical -- do good (Romans 12:21). One is attitude, the other is action. Remember James' faith and works demand?

"Delight thyself also in the Lord" (Psalm 37:4). The Hebrew verb `anag might well be translated "be pampered." Let the heavenly Father give us "the desires of our heart." Jesus promised in Matthew 6:33 to "add" all things if we would seek His kingdom first.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord" (Psalm 37:5). We are told to "roll" or "wallow" (Hebrew, galal) in the Lord on our "journey" (Hebrew, derek) with Him. See Psalm 119:30-33 as a good Biblical example.

"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:7). First, "rest" ("keep quiet"), and then "wait patiently." The Hebrew word chuwl means "twisting" or "trembling" or "writhing in pain" (Jeremiah 5:22). Our angst and anger can be remedied when we are stunned into silence by the Creator's awesome majesty (Zechariah 2:13).

"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath" (Psalm 37:8). Finally, let anger literally "sink down," and then "turn quickly away" from "fury" (Proverbs 29:22; Ephesians 4:26). The Message (written for young people) paraphrases it: "Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes -- it only makes things worse."

Often we tend to fight emotionally -- especially as we attempt to bring down "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (II Corinthians 10:5). God's prescriptions will strengthen us to be more successful in our spiritual battles.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. 2007. Angst and Anger. Acts & Facts. 36 (5).

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