Be Still When the Wicked Prosper

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Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

Recently, I encountered someone who has a “wicked scheme.” This person works toward her own selfish desires. And, she seems to be indifferent to the pain she causes others. Mercifully, I rarely encounter such nefarious plans, but sometimes I do. On such occasions, maintaining perspective can be a challenge.

Many people struggle. No two journeys are identical. And, even the ones who appear to hatch a “wicked scheme” have a life. That life is unique and many variables join together to create the context that births “wicked schemes.” Evil does not exist in isolation.

For many years, I have collected rocks. My collection resides on my desk and reminds me to maintain perspective. One rock is worn almost into a smooth ball. For many years, the sea and sand rolled and washed it. How many years did it take for it to become smooth? Several others are flat and stack into a mini-cairn.

John Muir, who founded Yosemite National Park, reads rocks with great sensitivity. After returning to the wild, he wrote, “All the rocks seemed talkative, and more lovable than ever. They are dear friends, and have warm blood gushing through their granite flesh; and I love them with a love intensified by long and close companionship” (Yosemite and Beyond, p. 145-46).

What do my rocks say to me? They remind me to keep my perspective. They point me back to the psalmist who said, “Be still before the Lord.” When someone embarks on a “wicked scheme,” God remains God. I do not have to answer for others or their plans. I answer for myself. What can I do? “Wait patiently… do not fret,” says the psalmist.

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