Squished Down Worry or a Quiet Heart

Although the tall, bay gelding I was riding might have had the exterior appearance of being calm and still, I was the one sitting on his back…

And I could feel the ripples of nervous energy that were being compressed and controlled just beneath the surface.

All it took was one small cue.  We lunged forward towards the cow that was coming towards us…

And then we went straight up into a rear that left us towering like giant above the cows in the pen.

The waiting had been too much for my beloved horse.

All that pent up energy had to be released.

Psalm 62:1, 2 says, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not be greatly shaken.”

When I read these words, I think of how often I am like the horse that I was riding that day.  I might have an exterior that has the appearance of calm, and may be trying to do my best to say and act like I am waiting for God’s timing and God’s provision and God’s protection, but beneath the surface…

There are ripples of compressed anxiousness, hidden worry, concealed fatigue, masked disappointment, veiled fear and nervous energy.

I take comfort in the progression of words that the Psalmist speaks in Psalm 62.  After recounting what he knows to be true about God and that He alone is his rock, salvation and fortress, he says these words in verse 2…

I will not be greatly shaken.

Then in verses 3 and 4, he proceeds to pour out his heart to God.  He is real with God.  He doesn’t try to hide what he is experiencing and what he is feeling as a result of the circumstances he is in.  He wonders how long people will keep attacking him, battering him.  He feels like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.  He knows his enemies are making plans to thrust him down, and take pleasure in telling lies about him.  Despite what others may see on the outside, he knows that inwardly they are cursing him.

In verses 5 and 6 he repeats his thoughts of verses 1 and 2 with a couple of significant changes.  The first is found in verse 5 where it says, “My hope is from him.”  The word “hope” is the same word that is used to describe Rahab’s scarlet cord that she hung out the window as a symbol of her hope and trust in the God of Israel to save her and her family from destruction when the walls of Jericho fell.  In using the word “hope” the writer of this Psalm is showing that his hope, his expectation is bound to God Almighty, who is his rock, salvation and fortress.

And with this affirmation the second change comes to the surface.  No longer does he say “I will not be greatly shaken.  He boldly declares…

I will not be shaken!

Period.

For regardless of what was going on around him, it was on God alone that his salvation and his reputation rested.  God was his rock and his refuge.

He didn’t have to pretend a peaceful heart.  He could wait with a quietness in his inner being that is only possible when one’s heart is bound by a cord of confident hope to God Almighty.

And then, in verse 8, he says, “Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

It is almost as if he knows that there are other people – like me – who struggle with waiting with a quiet heart in confident trust for God alone.  So often the tentacles of fear or fingers of anxious worry or threads of discouragement can try to get a grip in my inner being.

But it is as I recount the promises and truths that I know to be true about the character and heart of God…it is as I am honest and real before Him, pouring out what I am going through and what I am feeling…it is as I again reaffirm that He is my refuge, my rock and my salvation…

I find that my soul moves from compressed worry, fear or discouragement to a place of quietness.  Stillness.  Trust.  Hope.

In God alone.

For my hope is in Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation.

He is my fortress.

I will not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory.

He is my mighty rock.

My refuge is in God alone.

Anxious