I think I hit a bump in the road this week. The journey continues. The road seems long. The end is …well, I’m not sure! Heaven–sure; but earth …that’s another story. Earth bound trains leave me in frustrated stations. Destinations unknown.
It seems people continue to be mean and ornery and don’t do what I want them to do (she says in a self-righteous, sarcastic tone 🙂 ). Bumps in the road frustrate me …block my smooth-sailing-wanna-be-persona. Funny how one minute I’m overwhelmed with miracles in the middle and the next minute overwhelmed with frustrations. Hormonal or just plain human?
Frustrations can leave you “spittin’ nails”– as they say down here in the south. And that ranting often ends up spittin’ nails on social media walls until those walls begin to look more like a pelted target at a shooting range than a place where friends stay posted in relationships.
I thought I’d try a different approach — partly because God convicted me and partly because I hate puttying holes in the walls.
Three days after thyroid cancer surgery, the clothes dryer had a melt down of its own. Twitter feeds and news reports and the ongoing political venom lobbying back and forth sent my thoughts into hyper-drive. God’s family fighting each other tooth and nail. Even the mail sent me into another frustrating loop pushing that play-rewind-play again button on a conversation I wish I was bold enough to talk with someone about. And did I mention I can’t wait to get this sticky tape off that’s plastered on my neck holding my incision together!!?? And to top it off, my little window air conditioner sounds likes it’s coughing up chunks of metal (or perhaps choking on them) as it tries to keep up with this 90 degree weather here in Alabama. Happy fall y’all!
Let’s start with my own personal tropic of cancer storm? I’m barely into the process and I’m already frustrated. I’m ready to move on …get this behind me. Shed this story for a new one. I’m tired of the fitting room and trying on the multitude of options.
Then someone had the audacity to tell me it’s not just about praising God IN the storm, but praising God FOR the storm. And here I am. Can I be thankful for this storm?
What can I thank God for?
How about …the surgeons, the medicine, the hospitals, the peace that God has given throughout this experience that is truly miraculous– to say the least. How about the lives of others God has brought to my attention who desperately need a healing touch of prayer, love and a “I understand what you’re going through” word of encouragement. How about the sticky tape that kept me from bleeding and promoted the healing process! Okay — even that as well.
Turns out, cancer is not a monster anymore. It’s a thing. A real thing. But God is so beyond that thing. He turns cancer into gold and ashes into beauty and bald into beautiful. We tend to go into a default pattern of the typical path of cancer treatment but my Father owns the path and He has a very different view of the process.
And that political climate that feels like a hurricane wreaking havoc and unleashing unprecedented disaster? Well, my Heavenly Father had a little parenting conversation with me as I prepared to teach a Bible study on “Love your Enemies” from Matthew 5:43-48. Ughhh…don’t you hate it when that happens!!
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (from Matthew 5:43-48 NLT)
That kind of love has an action plan. Pray for our enemies. Loving only those who are lovable is easy. Anybody can do that but a follower of Jesus has the DNA of our Father. Mud slinging doesn’t look well on us.
Can I love those in the political arena like I love my best friend? Maybe not in the same kindred spirit of let’s-have-coffee-together kind of way but definitely acknowledging this person as someone God dearly loves and longs to bring home to the family table. That kind of love. Yes. Hard but needed.
And those situations I want to fix or have the guts to tell ’em what I think? Well, that’s better left in the hand of my Father as well. He may give me an opportunity to speak into another person’s story but it won’t be very appetizing until He’s added just the right spices to flavor the conversation. It’s His responsibility to set the table!
Pray. Wait. Listen. Love. Forgive. Let go. Repeat.
Ask myself, “Is my way the only right way?” “Is this for my benefit or truly for the benefit of others?” “What is this surfacing from down deep inside me that needs addressing? Past pain? Unresolved anger? Rejection? Jealousy? Pride? ” “Who am I trying to help in this situation?” “Is the purpose to bring about good or just to get something off my chest?”
Pulling my toes back a little further. My “ouch” meter just hit an all time high and I think the song says it best… “It’s me! It’s me Oh Lord…standing in the need of prayer.”
Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer …
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer;
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer.Not the preacher, not the deacon, but it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer …Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer …Not the stranger, not my neighbor, but it’s me, O Lord,
Standin’ in the need of prayer …
So I guess I’m left with “standin’ in the need of prayer” instead of “spittin’ nails.” How about you? And by the way, while writing this–God began to bring peace into these frustrations of mine. He was nailed to cover my spittin’ nails. His nails for mine. Grace.
Pictured in the photo above are the hands of the precious prayer warriors who meet at our home almost every Tuesday at noon for prayer. These hands have held each other and lifted many to the Father who continues to carry us through it all.
To God be the glory–Great things He has done!