Stethoscope on electrocardiogram ECG with red heart
Encouragement

The Rhythm of Our Hearts: A Heart Checkup List from Psalm 37

by Katy Kauffman

De-dum, de-dum, de-dum. That’s my normal heart rhythm.

But if I lift something heavy the wrong way, take the “wrong” pain reliever, or use “rabbit” mode on the lawn mower (how can anything related to bunnies be wrong?), my rhythm intensifies. Stress can send our hearts into overdrive.

Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum. If we’re not conditioned to handle it well, the “heart-demand” of all kinds of stress can damage our well-being. Not just our physical health, but every aspect of who we are—our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. Adding one more stressor could cause immense damage. At such a time, we need an intervention.

The Maker of every human heart is the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17 NKJV). He knows what we need for our hearts to get back into the right rhythm or to adjust to a new rhythm during a stressful season. He knows how to give us:

  • perspective when we’re trapped in a tense situation
  • wisdom when we’re perplexed
  • grace when we feel we can’t take another step
  • comfort when sorrow overwhelms us
  • peace when we’ve been shaken
  • love when we’ve been wounded

Periods of suffering can reveal God’s help in new ways, and I’ve seen Him work good out of a hyperdrive of need and concern. When our minds are divided with worries or our hearts race with fear, God’s presence and power, along with His promises, can restore our inner calmness and strength. Even our joy.  

“In the multitude
of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.”
(Psalm 94:19)

Heart Checkup List:

Psalm 37 acts like God’s prescription for a heart out of a “rhythm,” for the soul that needs to know “I can make it through this.” When we see injustices in the world or we experience them ourselves, we need to know we can make it, and good can happen again.

We can turn the instructions found in Psalm 37 into a checklist for our hearts, to see how we’re doing. Does your heart know the right rhythm when you experience these kinds of situations? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  1. When my heart is tempted to be engulfed by stress or sorrow, do I shift my focus to God, trust Him, and “pasture” in His faithfulness? (v.3)
  2. When I am still waiting for prayers to be answered, do I delight in God and let Him shape my desires to match His own? (v.4)
  3. When I am creating plans or toting heavy burdens, do I “roll” my “way” to the LORD and depend on Him to help me? (v.5)
  4. When I want to fuss or complain, do I choose to rest in what God can do and wait even if it hurts? (v.7)
  5. When my anger starts to boil, do I “de-intensify” it so I can simmer down and not harm anyone in any way? (v.8)
  6. When I am tempted to handle things selfishly, do I choose to embrace God’s ways because He has a good heart and perfect wisdom? (v.37)

These questions and the verses they’re based on, show us a heart that is growing and open to depending on God, instead of one that wants to take matters into our own hands. With its instructions and promises—a great exercise and rest plan—Psalm 37 can reinforce:

  • our strength to do what’s right,
  • our willingness to wait on God,
  • our desire to embrace God’s plan and His ways, and
  • our inner stability and calmness.

What prayer might you craft based on this heart checkup checklist? My heart might say …

Father,

Help me to see the good You can work out of any situation, and help me to trust You when I can’t see it just yet.

Give me the grace to bring my concerns and plans to You and then leave them with You. Increase my stamina to handle stress, and give me wisdom to know what stress to refuse.

Comfort my heart with Your goodness so that I can be still and quiet instead of fretful and worried. Help me to “de-intensify” negative emotions and expect You to do great things for those I care about and for myself. I know You will—that’s who You are.

I set my heart to stay in awe of You, Your love, Your wisdom, and Your power. Conform my heart to the rhythm of Your love. Thank You for walking with me through this life. Thank You for giving me promises only You can keep.

I trust You, and I can’t wait to see what You will do. Thank You for being close. Thank You for being my great God. Be at the center of my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Discussion Questions:

In the heart checkup list, which one seems to come the easiest to you, and why? What has God taught you that helps? (Secretly we can think about which questions we’d like to focus more on. I know which one I need to look at closer.)  

What short prayer might you pray based on these checkup questions? Leave a comment in the comments section! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading in this series.

*All Scripture verses are taken from the NKJV.

Each of the heart checkup questions above corresponds to a post in our series. To re-read one or read them for the first time, visit:

May you find in God, His promises, and His power what you need. And may He be our greatest joy.

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *