Merriam-Webster defines fretting as “to cause to suffer emotional strain.” The Hebrew word occurs ninety times in the Bible. In the Hebrew, the meaning is more intense: to be hot, furious, become angry, be kindled. To fret is to be worried and angry, anxious and frustrated. Fretting and envy are close cousins.
King David writes Psalm 37 as an older man, looking back over years of battle. He was Israel’s bloodiest king, routing enemies on all sides in order to settle the land and protect his people. It is from David’s words here that we find real reasons why we shouldn’t fret.
Don’t fret because evildoers will fade away. Evil has an expiration date. They will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Green grass that sprouts over night withers under the intense heat of the sun. This is a vivid picture–I wonder if it’s a play on words. No one is more angry with the injustice that is happening to you than God. He, at his very core is just, and hates injustice. For the evildoers shall be cut off. The Lord laughs at the wicked, he sees that his day is coming. (37:9,13)
Don’t fret, it tends only to evil. It’s hard (not impossible) to be angry and not sin. Anger is like a caged lion–open the door too soon and it will come roaring out with little or no concern about who or what is in its path. Paul encourages us to be angry and do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)
Now that we know what not to do, what do we do?
What if we trust instead of go on a tirade? Delight instead of demand? Be still instead of be stupid? David answers…
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. (Psalm 37:25-26, ESV)
This reminds me of Psalm 37. I read just yesterday and was praying through again this morning… “Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…”
Good stuff – hard to do, but good nonetheless… l continue learning to “Fret-well” by turning it over to Him.