Three months before surgery, I’m administered some fancy-dancy injection that will do its wonders before I’m under the knife. Or so they say. With nary a side effect? Fat chance. One promised by the specialist will be hot flashes. Now that’s something to look forward to.
For the first month, nothing. My wife seems somewhat disappointed, hoping that I’d be sensitized to what she’s endured for years. Not to worry, my dear. Time is up. For those nasty flashes and flushes shift into high gear with a vengeance. At bedtime I’m freezing, pulling up the covers, only to violently toss them off, as my internal furnace kicks in with a blast of heat from head to toe.
I want out of these hot flashes. Which is what the Bible also recommends. Okay, maybe of a different kind. Nevertheless, turn down the heat. Psalm 37:1,8–‘Fret not yourself…Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.’
What’s with that word ‘fret’? Rather archaic, isn’t it? ‘Fret’? In the Hebrew language, it means to ‘get heated’. Also, to eat away at, corrode, fray, and gnaw at. None good, so best turn down the heat. ‘Fret not…’
Hot flashes of anger will rot hearts and minds, ours and others. We all know some who regularly blow their tops, releasing harmful steam from under their collars. One way they bully people is to make others afraid that the hothead will blow a gasket right in their face at the drop of a hat or two. No fun to be around. Better steer clear. Get out of their way. This is why hotheads keep their fingers crossed, hoping their anger will work its intended purpose–to get their own way and you out of it.
Rather, Psalm 37 wants us to focus on trusting the Lord, and remembering how quickly life passes by. What a shame to spend so much time fretting and fuming, stewing and spewing anger into the air, raising the roof, making a scene, and going ballistic. Better to let go and let God handle what’s scorching and searing us.
I need this as much as anyone else. So, I reread God’s prescription in Psalm 37–‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act’ (vs. 3-5). That’s better, isn’t it?
Leaning on Jesus. Trusting the Lord. Being faithful and content right where you find yourself. Finding the Lord to be delightful and giving. Reflecting on God’s love and forgiveness rather than on how to get your own way. Deciding to get off yourself. Thinking about what makes someone else tick, cutting them some slack rather than ticking them off. Tossing your hat in His ring, knowing that He’ll take care of it all. By His means. By His clock.
Time for your angry hot flashes to go? Think so? I’m working on it, but more is needed. Quite a bit more, honestly.
Lord Jesus, I delight myself in you. I love you. Amen.