I remember hearing speakers on the radio and from the pulpit say that they yelled at God in their anger. Some validated it, saying it’s okay to be mad at God! Tell him how you feel. He knows already, anyway!
The idea of being angry with God just isn’t my style. I can’t imagine being mad at the God who died for me to forgive my sins. I mean, he chose me before the world began to be part of eternity in Heaven, so that pretty much earns him more respect than I can ever muster up. I can be frustrated with my situations, though, and angry with the choices of other people — people I love.
Recently I did something I’ve done a few times before when I’m at the end of my proverbial rope. Balling and wet faced while driving (that seems to be when I really get into conversations with Jesus), I had no more words. I was groaning in the Spirit, because my heart was breaking out of sadness and frustration for a situation I could not change. This time it wasn’t my pain or illness; it was another person’s choice that added up to a downward spiral of chaos and turmoil. And it was totally out of my hands. Every time I stopped to pray, my prayer was for those involved. Every morning, every night. I rose up and lie down praying for this situation, these people. So on this day, groaning and crying, I just cried out, “God, take care of —-!” I said the name of the person I was praying for.
A peace flooded over me, and it was done. I said out loud, “It is finished.” And I smiled. All sadness, frustration, and crap was gone, and peace remained. God is good.
Throughout this week, a second person mixed up in this mess was having a really bad time — I mean a really, really bad time. The situation was such that I wasn’t able to be in contact with the person, so I “could only” pray. (Oh how foolish we are when we say that.) Again, morning and night I prayed, and I cried, and I asked Jesus to fix it all up and put a nice shiny bow on top. I knew the first person was taken care of – but this second person was in turmoil. My prayers and thoughts kept going back to him during worship. I knew I had to lay him at Jesus’ feet and let go of it. Let Jesus take over. That’s when I had an image in my mind — a vision, if you will — that brought me peace and joy.
I carried this man, limp and lifeless, down the aisle to the alter and Jesus was there, waiting for us. I lay the man at Jesus’ feet, and Jesus knelt. He held the man’s torso and head up, cradling him and ministering to him as if he were wounded. Then, behind Jesus on the right, I saw that first person I’d given over to Jesus the week before. She knelt behind Jesus, a hand on his shoulder, looking at the man Jesus held.
I knew that Jesus was between the woman and the man, protecting her from the frailty and brokenness of the man. Jesus held out a strong arm toward me, telling me to back off, that he had it under control and I needed to just let him do his thing. He had both of them, and he could do more than I ever could, so I went to the back of the chapel to sit and pray, and watch. And I had peace.
I have peace now, and their turmoil is not over — it’s just beginning. But just as Jesus knew that I would cry out and he would give me peace last week, and that today he would give me a vision that was like salve to my spirit, he knows how to bring peace to these two children of his flock. Praise the Lord for his mercy, goodness, and grace, forever and ever, Amen.