Fret Not

How many times have you been in a panic needlessly? Some demand presses in threateningly for tomorrow. Some shortcoming or error is magnified in your sight. Some need seems impossible to fill. The Sermon on the Mount tells us to have the simple confidence of birds and lilies. "Take no thought for tomorrow."

But for the time such good advice from our Elder Brother seems wasted on a "trembling leaf".

In such times I often turn to Psalm 37 - a favourite. Apparently it was also a favourite of John Wesley, that horseback-wandering, tireless preacher of England in the eighteenth century. His days were demanding, varied, unpredictable, fraught with adversity. But the Psalm told him to fret not, to wait patiently, to trust, to rest in the Lord, to cling to the honest-to-goodness fact that the righteous are never forsaken.

With prayer, trust in a Word of promise, the best that I can muster for the situation, the passage of time, God's undergirding hand, I come to see that all the worry was needless once again.

For those finding themselves in just such a situation I offer today a classic hymn written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Man Frail and God Eternal

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne,
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or Earth receiv'd her frame,
From everlasting Thou art good,
To endless years the same.

Thy word commands our flesh to dust,
Return, ye sons of men.
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood
With all their lives and cares
Are carried downwards by thy flood,
And lost in following years.

Time like an ever-rolling stream
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flow'ry fields the nations stand
Pleas'd with the morning-light;
The flowers beneath the Mower's hand
Lie withering e'er 'tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last
And our eternal home.

Isaac Watts


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