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Encouragement

Triggers of Stress or Sorrow: A Heart Checkup from Psalm 37

by Katy Kauffman

When we hear of terrorist acts on the news—it’s a trigger.

When we hear about the Church being persecuted around the world—a trigger.

When we hear of a friend being mistreated at work—another trigger.

Triggers of stress or sorrow find us every day, and we automatically react. Our natural response could be anxiety, sadness, or anger, but will we stay there? Will we choose to abide in negative emotions that can hinder what God wants to do in our lives? Or will we abide in trusting God and looking for what He can do in any situation?

Psalm 37 is a chapter of triggers. God’s people were dealing with evildoers and injustice, enemies and wicked schemes. And yet God tells them, “Trust in the LORD, and do good” (Psalm 37:3 NKJV*).

Trust God? Even when it looks like evil people are prospering?

Do good? Even when people might not take it well or we could become a target for those who don’t know and love God?

The same verse shows us how to trust God and do good.

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”
(Psalm 37:3)

“Dwell in the land”—in the place God gave you to call home. The “land” has another meaning too. Did you know that in the Old Testament, the “land” can represent a relationship with God? He gave Israel a land to be their home, and He wanted their hearts to find a home in Him.

That word “dwell” in Psalm 37:3 can also mean “abide.” In John 15:4, Jesus calls us to abide in Him.

So, dwell in the land—abide in a close relationship with God in which you “feed on” His faithfulness. Or you “pasture” in it.1 That term “feed on” can refer to sheep grazing in a safe place.

In God’s faithfulness, we find safety for our spirits and nourishment for our souls. We can remember how He has taken care of us in the past and trust Him now. We can see His goodness that’s recorded in Scripture, and we can record our own stories of His goodness in our spiritual journals.

We can depend on God every day because “the goodness of God endures continually” (Ps 52:1).

  • He is our shield (Ps 3:3).
  • He is our King (Ps 5:2).
  • He is “a just judge [who] is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps 7:11).
  • He is “a refuge for the oppressed” (Ps 9:9).
  • He is “the helper of the fatherless” (Ps 10:14).
  • He is our strength (Ps 18:2).
  • He is our light and salvation (Ps 27:1).
  • He is “a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1).

God is steadfast, and He is forever good.

Whatever is going on in the world today, we find in God Someone to trust in, Someone who loves us and takes care of us. God is Someone who can work good out of hard things (Romans 8:28). He can hold our hearts close to His, and there we find hope. We find a forever love that can never be taken from us no matter what challenges we face and what battles we have to fight.

We can be confident that God will always be with us, and we can depend on His faithfulness as we walk closely with Him through life.

Heart Checkup #1:

How often do we choose to exchange anxiety for trusting God? Has it become our habit of life? Even when evil people are wreaking havoc in the world, are we doing good where we can, when we can, and as God directs? Do we trust Him when we don’t know how He’ll rescue people we care about out of a bad situation or be with them through it? Do we trust Him when we’re uncertain how He’ll help us in our challenges?

We can choose to abide in worry and fear, or we can live in a better place. We can choose to draw close to God and pasture in His faithfulness. And then we can take with us all the grace, wisdom, and comfort He gives us and share that with others.

With this first heart checkup, let’s ask God to help us see just how much we trust Him. And let’s draw close to God and remember His faithfulness in the past, look for it in the present, and be confident it will be with us in the future. God is faithful, and He always takes care of His own.

Discussion Questions:

How hard is it for you to trust God when you don’t know how a situation will turn out? What has helped you in the past to trust Him?

Tell us in the comments, and let’s encourage each other to trust God who can handle any surprise and overcome any challenge.

We are starting something new on our site! Do you ever love to meditate on a chapter of Scripture for a period of time? I would like to share some of my favorite chapters with you. These chapter studies will have five to ten posts each, and this first one on Psalm 37 will have seven posts total. We will share them (as they’re ready) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

These posts will dive into a chapter and bring out powerful encouragement for everyday life. For Psalm 37, we’ll focus on the “heart checkup” woven into this chapter, and be encouraged to trust God when life tempts us to burrow in anxiety or sorrow.

May God’s Word help us to trust Him, stay close to Him, and live for Him daily .  

*All Scripture verses are taken from the NKJV.

1. Larry Pierce, The Online Bible, CD-ROM (Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2019), Psalm 37:3.

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