Friday, March 1, 2013

Anger or Passion

I’ve been angry with God these last couple days.

I recall being on a Kairos weekend at Limestone Correctional Facility in Limestone County.  At one point in the weekend, there was a snack break for everyone.  I found myself talking with one of the inmates who sat at my table.  He told me that his mother had recently died.  She told him if he returned to prison, it would kill her.  He said it did, and he said it must have been God’s will.  It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. 

I decided to approach this from a relational standpoint.  I asked him if he’d talked about this with God.  He looked at me weird.  He said no.  I asked him if held God responsible.  He did.  With that he began to tear up.  As he began to walk away from me I grabbed by the arm and told him it would be good for him to tell God he was angry.  “He’s big enough to take it, and you won’t have a sound relationship with God until you’re honest with him.  He’s big enough to take it, and he’ll still love you.”

Yesterday, I attended my orientation with a local insurance company that hired me.  I left there shaking my head.  I was a good Do-bee and did everything they asked of me and played the good soldier standing in the ranks.  As I was making my way home, I grew angry.  I was angry with myself.  I really knew what this was going to be and what they would ask of me.  It was going to be total commission, and I was going to be responsible for all my salary.  Hey, it works for some.  I was angry with me because I knew I couldn’t do this, and I should have known this from the beginning.  It’s just not how I’m wired.  It may not make sense, but I was angry with me.

By time I got home, I was angry with God.  “You know, I’m not wired this way.  This is the only door you’ve opened for me.  After all the applications I’ve filled out and interviews, sales positions are the only jobs available to me?  Dog gone you anyway!” 

I remembered earlier that day I’d prayed for the Lord to give me wisdom liberally for the day ahead.  Well, I believe now that wisdom had emerged.  This is not the job for me.  That bit of revelation didn’t help me get over the anger.  I figured I deserved a bit of anger.  It was my turn.  By time evening came, two things stuck with me.  One, I would not passionately be a team player for this company.  Second, it was the Lord’s heart to give abundantly – too much fish, too much bread, too much wine.  It was God’s turn to give us abundantly.  We need it, and it’s his turn to put out.

This morning I read from Psalm 69. “ Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God (vss. 1-3). . . But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.  With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me. (vss. 13-15)”

I’d grown tired of being angry.  I went to an old tool of mine in my devotion to Daddy.  I said, “When you pray, believe you receive it, and you shall have it. (Mark 11:24)”  I then went about believing what I will receive – saved from drowning in despair, relieved from weariness in crying, my eyes will grow dim though I wait, in abundance you will answer us, we will be rescued, delivered from the enemies of poverty and lack, the Pit will not swallow us.

I went on to more verses from Psalm 69.  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.  Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.  For the Lord hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds. (vss. 30-33)” Still using Mk. 11:24 as a tool to declare God’s will for me – I will praise you with a song, you’ll be pleased with this more than religious sacrifice, the oppressed and troubled will see this and be glad, as we seek you our hearts will be revived, you will hear us and not despise us who are bound. 

This helped me greatly, but what helped me most were April’s prayers for me.  She’d had it, and knew that God was at work and wanted me to taste of it afresh.  When she prayed, something came back to me again from Psalm 69.  Verse 9 reads, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”  Bingo!

As we sat together in the living room, I took my journal and wrote, “In Psalm 69:9 it reads, ‘Zeal for your house consumes me.’  This is the passion. This is my heart’s desire.  Your house, your presence.  You want songs of praise more than religious insistence of sacrifice.  Zeal for your house consumes me.  You’re big enough to take my anger, but it’s my passion for you and your house that consumes me.  I want nothing else.”

Anger, sometimes, does its best work by getting our juices flowing – be angry, but sin not.  A better emotional sign post is passion.  It’s important to find out what the source of the anger is so it can be recognized and addressed.  It’s also important to find out where your passion lies.  If the passion is not recognized, it will lie dormant and be labeled as insignificant.  We are passionate beings.  We were created that way.

It was important to get back in touch with my passion for God, and not label it as insignificant – “Oh, just pull it out on Sundays or Wednesdays.”  We ain’t in a season to disregard our spiritual passions.  That’s a mistake.  It’s as if I’m freed from jail.  My passion for God and his call on our lives these days consumes me.  Seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness and these other things will be given to you. 

Get over the anger so you can claim again the passion.

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