John F. Burns spent forty years covering world events for The New York Times. In an article written after his retirement in 2015, Burns recalled the words of a close friend and fellow journalist who was dying of cancer. “Never forget,” his colleague said, “It’s not how far you’ve traveled; it’s what you’ve brought back.”
Psalm 37 could be considered David’s list of what he “brought back” from his journey of life, from shepherd to soldier and king. The psalm is a series of couplets contrasting the wicked with the righteous, and affirming those who trust the Lord.
“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither” (vv. 1–2).
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (vv. 23–24).
“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (v. 25).
From our experiences in life, what has God taught us? How have we experienced His faithfulness and love? In what ways has the Lord’s love shaped our lives?
It’s not how far we’ve traveled in life, but what we’ve brought back that counts.
Dear Lord, thank You for walking with me throughout my life. Help me to remember Your faithfulness.
As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying.
Psalm 37 is an extended antidote to anxiety, even when there seem to be many reasons to fear. The psalm, sometimes classified as a wisdom psalm because of its insight into the realities of life, invites believers to have trust, peace, and contentment (vv. 3, 5, 7) even when it seems that evil has the upper hand (vv. 1, 7, 12, 14). We find peace through looking deeper than external appearances like wealth (v. 16). Evil may have power for a time, but it is self-defeating. It cannot last forever (vv. 10, 20, 22). It’s better to live with Him, who picks us up when we fall and holds us by the hand (vv. 23–24), than to surrender to evil (v. 16). A life with God means true peace, now and eternally (v. 18). Monica Brands