One way to surround yourself with Scripture is to write a few of your favorite Bible verses on Post-It notes and hang them on your bathroom mirror. That way, every time you brush your teeth, wash your hands, or do your hair, you can’t help but see things like “God is love” (1 John 4:8) or “God has a plan for you: plans to prosper and not harm; plans for hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) or “Faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the assurance of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1).
As I read the lessons appointed for Sunday, I ran across a quote from the Track 2 Psalm that was tailor made for my bathroom mirror. “Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; * do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil” (Psalm 37:9, BCP). If I could figure out a way to refrain from anger in car line, my life would be so much easier. If could manage to leave rage alone, I might not need blood pressure meds. What really caught my attention was the Psalmist’s refrain through Psalm 37, “Do not fret yourself.”
According to Google, fret is a word that is actually coming back into vogue. This is probably due to our increasingly stress based lifestyles of working too hard to make enough money to pay of the too much stuff we’ve convinced ourselves we need. There is a second definition of fret, however, that is actually closer to the original Hebrew meaning. While we all know fret to mean “to be constantly worried or anxious,” it can also mean to “gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing.” To put this in perspective, the Grand Canyon was made by water fretting rock.
In the Hebrew, this word that appears three times in Psalm 37, means “to be kindled into flame” or “to heat oneself in vexation.”
Be it anxiety, stress, or anger, the constant force of negativity in our lives will eventually lead to a flame, which can easily grow into a flame thrower that does real damage to those around us if we’re not careful.
In this bathroom mirror worthy passage, the Lord invites us to lay aside fretting, to not lot those things that would gnaw us into worry, frustration, and rage get the best of us, and instead, to take delight in the Lord.