Last week, I got really angry.
The Devil was working hard on my mind and spirit. I knew it, and yet I still let him get away with it.
Over the last few weeks, two people I love dearly have faced scary, significant health moments. Another loved one lost her child. Our air conditioner broke. I had a health setback due to inadvertently eating something I’m not supposed to through an allergy medicine, and that setback took me a full two weeks to recover from completely.
And let’s not even get started on the ridiculous-ness that’s been going on all year. I’m not even talking about the things you know already with my health issues…I’m talking about the exploding glass shower door one Sunday, the inexplicably shattered windshield on one of our cars after church one morning, the extended family difficulties, the inevitable daily frustrations that we all have, the dog injuring himself in a crazy way, the brand new phone completely shutting down for no reason while waiting on an important series of calls from doctors, the work frustrations, the people who mean well but don’t help at all…
This year has been an endless string of disaster and recovery.
So when the bad kept piling up last week, I just had enough of it.
I sat my prayer journal to the side, and instead, had I-don’t-even-know-how-many conversations with God about how thoroughly ticked off I was. I read my Bible and got really frustrated when it said something I didn’t want to hear.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end, you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21
“It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 13:4
I’ll be honest…I was reading these verses each day, and I knew God understood how frustrated and angry I had become. He was literally speaking to my heart.
I’ve spent this whole year endlessly trying to be positive, faithful, a beacon of God’s word through difficulty. Every time something bad has happened, I’ve sent out another ray of sunshine with the hope of a better tomorrow. I’ve worked so hard to overcome the difficulties in my life, just to be slapped with another – and, last week, I just couldn’t turn my cheek again. If you know me really well, you know I’ll keep turning that cheek until I’m ready to knock you smooth out…then I erupt. I was in kill-shot mode, ready and rarin’ for one more go, y’all.
Which, I know, is exactly why the Devil was hitting me so hard.
As the week wore on, I began to think about the Jews in the Old Testament. Time and time again, we see God rescue them, protect them, just for them to turn their backs and worship other gods. As a kid, I used to think that was the silliest nonsense; why can’t they just stay faithful? I mean, if manna is falling from heaven each day to feed me – if bushes start talking to me while they are on fire – if I so blatantly see God’s work in my life, how could I even think about getting angry?
Woah. Insert self-application here.
It was unsettling to think about all the times this year (and in my life) that God has carried me through, just for me to think, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’ve had enough.”
And I’ll be honest with you, I grappled for a couple days with that thought in my conversations with God.
“I know you are trying to teach me. I know you are trying to remind me. I know you are protecting me, and I know, despite the seemingly endless pile of crap that keeps coming at me, I have so many blessings in this life. I know I am being just like the Old Testament Jews; I know it. But I’m so bone-weary – I just don’t think I can take anymore.”
I was struggling. Both with my faith – what I wanted it to be, and what it wasn’t in those moments – and the anger that was filling my heart.
As Sunday morning came on, I made a conscious decision to start listening again with a better heart. That’s when I stumbled upon this:
“How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 2 Samuel 7:22
It’s easy to pass judgment on the Jews and their struggles; to wonder how they could ever be so weak. That is, until you face your own struggle.
It’s easy to read a paragraph in the Bible without thinking about the months or years that occupied that paragraph in reality. That is, until your life can be summarized in a blog post and still not encompass the devastation and emotion that has been in your life over the last year.
It’s easy to let the Devil win. It’s easy to say “I give up” or “I’m going to pass today”. That is, until you remember all the blessings God has given you (despite your lack of mustard-seed faith).
Today, my prayer is simply this: “God, you are more powerful than I can ever grasp. As Job said and as you’ve reminded me, my ears had heard you, but now my eyes have seen you. You’re leading my life in a way that I don’t understand, so please help me set my lack of wisdom aside and follow you anyway. I’m struggling, but I don’t want to give up – I don’t want to let the Devil win. Please give me the strength, patience, and open heart I need to survive this never-ending hurricane. I thank you for your infinite blessings – for bringing me this far, for loving me in spite of my weakness, and for protecting my soul when I don’t deserve it. I may not have been great yesterday, but I’m going to be better today.”