In my last blog I talked about the things we can change and the things we cannot change. A list started forming on paper to what I can fix and what I cannot fix. Fixing something is about directing one’s eyes, attention, or mind steadily or unwaveringly toward something. It is about settling on a course of action and doing what is necessary to accomplish that action.
List #1: The things I cannot fix!
1. I cannot fix the brokenness in men’s lives – only God can!
2. I cannot fix the loneliness in men’s lives – only God can!
3. I cannot fix the hurt in men’s lives – only God can!
4. I cannot fix the evil all around me – only God can!
5. I cannot fix the power of death – only God can!
6. I cannot fix those around me – only God can!
List #2: The things I can fix and do!
Psalm 37 gives us the things we can do:
“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
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 do this: he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.
Do not fret – it only leads to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
But the wicked will perish: the Lord’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish – vanish like smoke.
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.
Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
Wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him he could not be found.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.”
The can-do list:
1. Fret not.
2. Trust and delight in the Lord.
3. Do good; turn from evil.
4. Befriend faithfulness.
5. Commit your way to the Lord.
6. Do not fret about others’ prosperity.
7. Refrain from anger.
8. Let meekness define who you are.
9. Do not seek after riches but righteousness.
10. Establish and delight in God your Father.
11. Seek after righteousness that utters wisdom and speaks justice.
12. Wait for the Lord and keep His way.
13. Take refuge in Him.
To fret is to be constantly worried, anxious, or distressed. Fretting will gradually wear away and gnaw at one’s very soul. As a noun, the word fret is described as a mist coming in off the sea – a fog.
Having been at the ocean recently, and having watched the fog come in, I was reminded of a picture we have. It is a picture of a lighthouse totally surrounded by raging waves! At the bottom ledge of the lighthouse stands a man alone and surrounded by the waves but not consumed or overtaken by them! Underneath this picture are these words:
“The Lord is My Rock and My Fortress and My Deliverer, My God, My Rock, in whom I take refuge, My Shield, and the horn of My Salvation, My Stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2)
When we use the word “my,” we are referring to the idea of possessing something. It is the object or an action, belonging and relating to me. It is about ownership, and the claiming of God’s truths for our own lives. Think a moment about insurance. We can buy a policy and make payments, but never claim what is due us.
God, on the other hand, bought our very lives with the shed blood of His only Son, Jesus, claiming us as His own children and heirs, while also giving us a title and allotment of Himself, the Holy Spirit. Oh, what an unbelievable insurance policy! Surrendering the “Cannot Fix” list to God the Father and the Holy Spirit brings peace, not the world’s peace, but God’s peace. When we truly hold on to God’s sovereignty, His supreme power and authority to guide our own lives and that of others, the peace will come.
Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
Jesus is our peace (Eph. 2:14).
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“Father God, help us to surrender the fixing of our own lives and the lives of others to you! Work in our hearts to show us that oneness with you produces the anchor of peace our lives so need and crave. Thank you, Father God, for your work in our lives and those around us. Thank you for your amazing peace that you have given us through the Holy Spirit. Help us to surrender what we cannot fix while allowing You to do in our own lives and others what only You can do. Amen.”
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Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.