Another year has come and gone. Since my last post, we have celebrated the birth of Jesus and welcomed in the new year.
The last time I settled in to write, I spoke on the dangers of anger and here I sit, anger gnawing at my throat. The last few weeks should have been joyful and celebratory… of which they were… but I have also felt this incredible weight of disappointment which has often spilled over into an irritating anger. I wish I could say it’s a righteous, godly anger, but I honestly am not entirely sure.
I haven’t been able to write because I have been so concerned about sending the wrong message and not delivering the words God desires me to speak. After much prayer and lamenting with God himself, I need to share that I am imperfect. I fail. I screw up on an epic level sometimes. Far more than I would ever care to admit. These last few weeks have presented challenges I didn’t think I would ever necessarily face.
I have found myself growing increasingly angry, not just at the world around me, but specifically with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas arrived and it was as if someone picked up one of those sad noisemakers, blew the tiny paper trumpet, and immediately moved past, checking one more thing of their list of Christian to dos and onto Christmas lists, checklists, Covid, politics, weather, family gatherings, Target runs, ANYTHING except the incredible gift that was bestowed that night long ago, among the fragrant livestock and prickly hay.
“For unto us a child is born… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6
I’ve been looking around like I’m on an episode of Punk’d. Does no one understand the magnitude of such an event?! How are we not worshiping relentlessly??
Instead I am surrounded by people irritated by any number of things, generally due to a slight inconvenience they’re currently experiencing on or around the holiday. I see those I love dearly focused on their own self interest and forgetting why this time is so gloriously remarkable.
On a night that was so seemingly unremarkable, a woman gave birth to a child that would go on to give his life for ours. Mary and Joseph were most definitely inconvenienced on a massive level and they instead rejoiced with their newborn son in a bed of hay, surrounded by manure and stinking, loud, braying animals. They went on to raise that boy, watch him do magnificent things, endure torture at the hands of men and eventually murdered, only to find the tomb empty and Jesus Christ, their son and the son of God himself save the world.
We should not be worried about inconvenience. We should not be worried about what is outside of our control because God is in control. Let me say that again.
GOD IS IN CONTROL.
Lately all I seem to hear are prayers regarding physical healing or stopping illness. I know and hope these stem from good intentions, however, it seems many around me are misguided. I see overly expressive tragedy masks covering the faces of those lifting up mournful prayers, but we cannot continue to hide behind our fears, discomfort, and anger around our own self interest.
What is your motivation? What is your intention? When you boil down the why of who and what you’re praying for, you’ll soon identify if it’s somehow missing the mark.
I am in no way saying we should stop praying for healing, but we often forget that healing doesn’t always come in an earthly form. In fact, the ultimate healing happens when we return to God’s side. I understand praying for afflictions to cease. Believe me, I am SICK of covid just like everyone else, but we are not promised anything other than eternity past this broken world, and part of that brokenness is sickness, pain, and discomfort.
Please do not think this is in any way advocating for masks/no masks, vaccines/no vaccines, quarantines, social distancing… any of it. If that is what the take away is here, I have seriously failed in what I am trying to say.
Friends, this life is hard. I don’t know your hard, but I know difficulty. I have experienced terrible things. This world continues to fail me every day, but there is one constant, and that is who my father is. He is the wonderful counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, King of creation, the great I Am. He is my constant, He is my healer, He is my confidant, He is my peace, my refuge, my savior.
Stop turning to the world. Stop putting your faith and trust into people and put them in God. We will all fail you, again and again. I am proof of that, your spouse is proof, your parents, friends, children, neighbors, pastors, church body… we will screw up and hopefully we’ll all continue to extend grace, compassion and forgiveness, but He will not fail you.
GOD WILL NOT FAIL YOU.
Stop treating Emmanuel as if he is a magic genie granting wishes. Stop spewing hate at those around you because they are providing a minor inconvenience to you already scheduled programming. I hope you begin praying to a God who has your back, rather than begging him to show up.
He already has your back. He is already there. He is with you every second of every day. Stop treating him as if he isn’t God.
I have been angry at those who treat our God as if he lives to serve us and I clearly need to work through that with Him. Please, I beg you to reconsider how you speak to and about our mighty God. We live to serve him and we are fortunate to have an intimate relationship with him. He desires our intimacy and amazingly we don’t have to earn his love. Why are we trying to make him earn ours?
I pray everyone experiences such a revival of spirit this year. Much love and blessings to everyone reading this and thank you for continuing to show up as we walk through a messy journey of faithfulness alongside each other.