On Sunday, I began thinking about every wrong and ugly thing that has touched my life recently.
My brother and his little boy, missing their wife and mommy for more than a year now.
My Papa, getting weaker and weaker, and my Gram, facing life without her husband of 63 years.
My sweet friend, who has struggled for years with disease and multiple transplants and who now has to stay at a rehab center in a town not her own, away from all she knows well.
A dear family from church, whose seven year old son was hit by a car and who is struggling to figure out their new normal as well as how to care for their other children (including a newly adopted daughter) while also caring for their son in long-term care in a far-away city.
I know that each one of you has your own list.
Are you angry yet? This world is broken and we have an enemy that takes full advantage of our brokenness. He is prowling and trying to devour all of us. He is hurting people who are dear to me, and that makes me angry.
It also makes me grateful.
I am grateful for a God Who has already fought this enemy, has died in the battle, and has won the war through His resurrection.
I am grateful for a God Who cares so much about bringing people to Himself, that He was willing to die.
I am grateful for a God Who loves us so much that even though we were the ones who brought death into the world, He works crazy hard to help people stop running away from Him.
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, He devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from Him. ~ II Samuel 14.14I am grateful for a God Who cares more about molding people into the image of His Son than about protecting them from danger or pain, and so is willing to allow our enemy to continue prowling.
I am grateful that our enemy's time is limited.
I am angry. And I will allow my anger to drive me. I will allow my anger to motivate me to work, to show God's love to the hurting around me, to do my part in bringing God's kingdom to earth here and now. As my dear friend said, "Give fully, believing He will fill the space."
Because I am grateful.
Are you angry too? As I tell my four year old (and myself, too!) when rage threatens to erupt, getting angry is not wrong. It is what you do with that anger that is right or wrong. Instead of allowing that anger to harden your heart, allow it to soften your heart towards God and send you clinging to His peace. Let it send you off to battle for those that He loves.
God has already done all the work through Jesus's death and resurrection. Now God allows me to join in the defeat of our enemy through the all-powerful love of God that moves through me.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ I Corinthians 15.54-58