Freedom. What a great word! It means: “the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint; exemption from external control; the power to determine action without restraint; independence”. We celebrate our national freedom on July the 4th. It is a day to commemorate our freedom from Britan’s tyranny. […]
Dorian has ravaged the Bahamas and continues the agonizingly slow march up the Eastern seaboard. It seems the news programs can report on little else. The news that has consumed them for months has taken a back seat – swept from the headlines. That suits me. Perhaps we can focus more on more important issues than politics. Like thinking about how we can come together to help others. Think beyond our selves to help the suffering.
Storms are not political. They hit Republicans and Democrats. Independents and Socialists. The Left and the Right.
And haven’t you seen that in your life? A storm may have swept in unbidden. Maybe you were not warned ahead of time or if you were, you still were taken aback. A life-changing diagnosis. A betrayal that took your breath away. A job loss that has undermined you financially. You feel insecure. Inadequate to face the trial God has allowed to rock your world.
We all feel that way at times. It is not to be underestimated or brushed aside or covered over with w Bible verse.
I think it is good to feel the pain. Let it rock your world. Let it knock the breath out of you. All of that is normal and human. I will caution you not to stay in those places. You may revisit them but don’t pitch a tent and set up camp. You will feel bitterness. That’s normal, too. But you cannot nurture it, feed it and coddle it. The Bible say, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled…”
Staying in bitterness (letting the roots go down into the soil of our spirit) causes us to fall short of God’s grace. How gracious He has been to us – giving His own Son to die in our place, cleansing us from sin and then giving us new life in him. Why would we want to fall short of that? If we have been given such generous grace, we want to extend that to others.
We may not want to extend grace to one who has wounded us deeply. We may even be angry with God because of the disease that is ravaging you or someone you love. God can handle your anger. He would draw you closer to Him in His love. But extending grace is evidence of God’s work in your life. Maybe you can’t do it immediately, I’m not suggesting that we can. It takes time but make it your goal to be gracious and kind.
So often when I am struggling with a relationship that just sets my teeth on edge I remind myself of Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 4, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Peter and Paul had a huge, public disagreement that nearly tore the early Church apart. I believe this is how they settled it. I believe Paul had to “work out his own salvation with fear and trembling” as he dealt with Peter and he had to learn to be kind, and tenderhearted and forgiving towards Peter. And Peter had to do likewise. This is the example they say for us. And the instruction for us.
So when storms hit you like a huge tidal wave, reach for the safety of God’s gracious arms.