Yesterday i encountered yet another awesomely-thought provoking blog, “Patience in Picking Fights” (Click to Check It Out HERE!) from Pastor John Gresham. His words made me pause (they often make me squirm, so pausing is a Good Thing) & then dig out the following words from a recent daily reader:
“Resentment casts a cloud over your prayers… if you collect injuries and resentments and think you can still pray, you would probably put water in a bucket full of holes… If you restrain your anger, you will discover how to pray well.
Anger is like an overcast day for the soul. It will destroy your prayer life.
When we know we are in the Divine Presence, negative thoughts are stilled… Much of the time, however, we struggle between prayer and disturbing thoughts. Our emotions get in the way… Keep trying. If we knock on the door hard enough, it will be opened.” Evagrius Ponticus, 4th Century Desert Father (Matthew 7:7)
It’s so easy to Get Angry – at politics (politicians!), court rulings, your family (wife, husband, kids, siblings), friends, annoying colleagues, your boss, yourself – all potential Beanheads (at times!!)
With my flaming red hair, sometimes my temper has flamed up against the perpetuators of injustice in a good-THIS MUST CHANGE-way… but then, there’s this faith challenge in the Gospels to ‘love your enemies’ & ‘pray for those who persecute you’ (& your persecuted friends, people group et all..) Anger doesn’t deflect injustice; actions taken in anger usually just bring on more (violence, unjust actions, misunderstandings…)
For years my boss & treasured mentor, Bill Warnock, often told me, “Go stand in front of the fan.” Sure, it was REALLY hot in the West Bank & Gaza Strip, but sometimes Virginia’s youthful temper needed a little fan action before reacting to the latest crisis-maker. (‘Tis also wise to ‘sit on’ that diatribe you’ve been hammering out for the higher-ups in your respective organizational Food Chain; look at it after a good night’s sleep, and… a good bit of prayer!)
I know what it’s like to be mad at God (really MAD! like just say the Lord’s Prayer & that’s it kinda mad..) Hey, BAD STUFF HAPPENs. To all, well, MANY of us.
But there’s this soft Heavenly Voice that calls us out of our anger… to be healed, to put aside our fears so they can melt in the cauldron of God’s love that burns brightly for us wherever we are – on the mountain tops (easy to see) & in the dark valleys of life when we have a hard time seeing anything through the mists of despair and at bleak overlooks. At times it gets completely dark and Really Stormy. As we dodge lightning & shake from life’s thunderous pain (of heart, mind & body), we fall flat on our faces in the mud of confusion & get mired in the clingy slime of bitter anger.
Quietly, tenderly God draws us ever closer to His Heart with His gentle voice: “Fear not, be not dismayed; I AM with you always…”
Maybe it’s the kind of pain that won’t go away this side of Heaven, but we’re not alone. Each minute, each hour, each day – God is with us. El Shaddai, the Almighty, All-Powerful Healer of hearts…
Does putting aside our anger cost? Sure, it might. No more, ‘woe is me, all is despair’… Giving up ourselves sacrificially costs – ourselves. That’s rather expensive in this ‘make-it-happen-for ME’ world. But it’s Rather Different in Heaven where the currency is mercy, forgiveness, joy, peace, grace, gentleness & LOVE…
“Count the cost by looking at the Cross.”
Let go of your anger, listen (prayerfully) & let God do something new in you.
grace, peace & Heavenly Bleach*
Virginia : )
(*for Anger Mud Stains)
P.S. “A soft answer turns away wrath”… (not a smart-aleck, smirky, ‘i am always right – you are always so wrong answer)… “but harsh words stir up fury.” Proverbs 15:1 (Virginia’s paraphrase)