Tag Archives: anger

A Closer Walk: When God Asks Something Crazy

when God asks something crazyWhy would God ask me to do something so crazy?

I wanted to cry or wave my arms and scream at the unfairness of it all, but…

Sing?

It still amazes me how God will sometimes ask us to do the most extraordinary things at the most incredible times!

I thought, “Sing? You’ve GOT to be kidding!”

That was perhaps the very LAST thing I felt like doing. I mean, who sits in the ruins, life in shambles, a fresh scar on their face, and then sings about it?

Talk about asking something crazy!

I still believe in the old adage:

Pain is inevitable. ~ Misery is optional.

misery is optionalSo, I decided to try to sing.

Not an easy thing to do when you are hurting and choking on your own tears.

(No, not easy.)

I thought, “Perhaps this is what the scripture means when it says, “Give the sacrifice of praise.” a sacrifice always costs you something.

I really was trying to cooperate with God.

Again, not an easy thing to do when nothing in your life is the way you want it and I had to admit, I was still feeling plenty “ripped-off.”

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There was a stubborn part of my heart that was looking at all the rubble and thinking, “Is this all there is, if you do your best, work hard, and try to do it God’s way? Is this what you get?”

I couldn’t stop thinking about all I had given up—the place I had loved, the people I had cherished, all the shining possibilities for a career in ministry, to come back to a place I hated—for this; these ruins!

spirit of entitlementI looked at the ornery, selfish, and downright dishonest people that I had laid everything down for, and this is the result of years of obedience and faithfulness?

That spirit of entitlement dies a slow and painful death.

I didn’t know who I was more angry with, God, or the people who I believed had let me down?

And worse yet, I didn’t know how to stop being angry, especially when I looked at the way things had turned out. And now I am supposed to, SING?

Still, with all this anger I wasn’t having fun-time, either.

A gray fog of futility had settled down on me.

gray fog of futilityBefore all this happened I had always felt I knew what to do or where to go, I had a sense of direction and purpose, I had a handle on life—at least a small one. Now, I couldn’t seem to get my bearings. I didn’t want to sing, but I didn’t want to be angry either.

In truth, I didn’t know what I wanted.

I felt stuck and I hated that, too!

There’s nothing worse than being royally ticked-off and stuck inside your own skin with nowhere else to go.

God had asked me to trust Him and I thought I had.

Now I wasn’t so sure.

What if my decisions had all been wrong?

And, if you couldn’t trust God…

Who could you trust?

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WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Ah yes, My sweet Dreamer, you are saved by trusting.

So, you found out the people who raised you weren’t the perfect people you wanted them to be.

Well, what are you going to do now? Be angry? Be depressed? Stay confused?

Honey, listen. What have I been teaching you for these past few years? You know. People fail. People let you down. People hurt people. Even the people we thought, never would, never could hurt us!

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Where do you think that dream of yours was born?

I’ll tell you, through the things you’ve suffered. Dreams and dreamers that will change the hearts of men, and heal them, are not born in nurseries of perfect people posing, posturing, and pretending to have pain-free spotless lives!

Ugh, it’s a lie spawned from Hell itself.

Do you know how many of My children feel or believe, they are disqualified from their dreams because of their failure, or the failures of others?

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MILLIONS—millions of hearts, full of millions of hopes, hiding!

Why?

Because they are convinced that all is lost before they even try.

And, how can these dreams be saved? How can these dreamers be salvaged?

They are saved by trusting.

Did you know TRUST is contagious?

Did you know HOPE is infectious?

Your enemy knows.

I guess you’d better get busy.

a closer walk

 

“We are saved by trusting…”

Romans 8:24

 

A Closer Walk: Where Do You Take Your Anger and Hurt?

What do you do when the One you trusted to always take care of you, always be there for you, let’s you down? Where do you take your anger and your hurt?

where do you go?

You realize you’re adrift, because the One you really need to talk to about everything, is the very One you are convinced has betrayed you.

Talk about frustrating.

Now what do you do?

Where do you go?

To whom do you speak?

That was my dilemma.

I had “believed” with all my heart that I had developed this face-to-face, heart-to-heart relationship with God. I had believed His word promised that He would always protect me. He was “my hiding place” where I could run and tuck myself under His wings… close… right next to A Heart that I just knew, would never let me down.

At least that’s what all the songs and bible verses had said—had promised.

Only, I was let down.

Monumentally so.

And I hurt.

I hurt

Like Job, my life was shattered in a million impossible pieces and I was wrestling with how to reconcile my understanding of all those beautiful bible promises with my confusing and darkening realities. This ugly stuff wasn’t supposed to happen to someone who had trusted and obeyed! Was it? And, as if my hurt and confusion wasn’t bad enough, add to it, all my so called friends and family had stepped way back, only watching my chaotic life from a nice cool distance.

Daily, their stony silence speaking volumes to my bleeding soul.

Ah yes, Job’s friends.

The “One” who could have prevented all of this—didn’t.

Now what was I supposed to do? To, believe? What kind of a GOD was this? And, why had He deserted me?

What had I done but trust Him utterly?

I had no answers, only lots of confused questions, hurt, and anger.

For three long months, each day I awoke to another day of turmoil. Sitting in stunned angry silence. (I smile now, remembering.) Because even though I didn’t want to talk to God, God was having none of it!

And so He began to gently whisper… and I listened.

I was desperate.

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I AM WITH YOU

Talk to Me.

I AM here: with you.

I know the others left you ~ let you down. My friends sometimes let Me down, too. They tried. They just couldn’t be there for Me. You know. Your friends have let you down, too.

(I know.)

You will have to make the same choice I did. You will have to forgive them their weaknesses and frailty. Come, if I did it, you can too.

I’ll help you.

You must learn the difference between the finite and the infinite ~ between potence, impotence, and omnipotence.

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POTENCE: a vessel for force and power. That’s you! In all these difficulties and trials I AM creating in you a ‘force and power’ for My Kingdom. What you are going through, is preparing you, for what you are believing Me for. I will help you through.

Now, IMPOTENCE.

(We have talked of this.)

I want you to understand and learn, once-and-for-all, where power comes from:

“Vain is the arm of flesh.”

Your friends only have influence. I give you power.

Which brings Me to OMNIPOTENCE: unlimited power!

(That’s me of course.)

Dearest, can you see now? For Kingdom work influence will not carry you through. You need Me. I AM your supply of unlimited power!

Apart from Me you can do nothing.

That’s not idle chatter ~ that’s your LIFE!

a closer walk

 

“But God is my helper. He is a friend of mine.”

Psalm 54:4

 

My Gifts

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 Eight edicts I give you my butterfly-warrior…

 

First, remember that all your gifts come from Me and they are freely given without reservation.

But remember this, too—what is given can be withdrawn.

It is your job to steward your gifts.

The more you can manage well, the more you will be given.

Remember: My eyes are always upon you, beholding all that you say and do.

I warn you again about that temper butterfly. You must hold your tongue if you cannot hold your temper. I know you are passionate. I created you that way. But you must lead your passions. They must not lead you.

Be vigilant.

Your enemy is.

I AM with you.

I will help you and uphold you with My victorious right hand.

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Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 41:10 KJV

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Surrendering A Dream For A God Sized More

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Oh, the agony and the ecstasy of surrendering a dream!

I’ve learned so much about dreams.

They don’t “just happen” for one thing. They are often years and years of long hours (Twelve years to be exact!) and many hours of very hard work.

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They are a gift from God, yes.

But…

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They must always be held loosely, ready to be surrendered if He asks us to.

And He does ask.

(Sometimes.)

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I’ve learned that not everyone will rejoice in your dream.

No.

Some will, but some will look on your dream with envy, and even hatred. People close. People you trusted. Seems unthinkable. I know. But it’s real. Sadly real.

They want your dream to fail and when it succeeds instead? Their bitter anger is quite a shock.

It’s part of the cost. (The agony part.) And you need to know it happens.

Though you will try hard to prevent it, you cannot control another’s heart-choices.

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People will marvel at what you’ve done; at what you and God have accomplished.

(You and God will know the real truth.)

It was mostly HIM!

You just got to go along for the wild ride.

You know His Truth, “…apart from Him, you can do nothing.”

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The compliments will be nice.

Life affirming!

You will get to know yourself in a new way you never could have, apart from your dream coming true that is.

A dream will test you. It will test your gifts, your strength, your love of God. (Oh, yes!) That, too.

There will be tears.

Dreams have MUCH joy. But also (at times) much sorrow.

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You may discover (like me) that this dream everyone believes “fits you so perfectly” doesn’t really “fit you” the way you thought it might—once hoped it would.

No, not at all.

Someday, someone might challenge you to, “Ask for more.”

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And in your heart of hearts? You know there is much MORE God has for you. He has created you for His plan and for His purpose, for His Kingdom.

People will think you’re crazy! Say you’re crazy. (And you will think you’re a little bit crazy, too, sometimes.)

To surrender so much? To just walk away? To lay all these lesser things, these lesser dreams, down?

It will hurt.

But His Voice that is calling to you on the inside where only you can hear is saying,

“There is more… trust Me.”

And so you walk away.

You refuse to fight, quarreling in some sleazy courtroom over nickels and dimes.

Many will say, “You are wrong. Totally crazy! Get an attorney! Fight for what is legally yours! Right is right, after all. Demand your rights!”

But, here’s the thing.

First, the word of God says quite clearly, one believer is not to take another believer to court. [1 Cor. 6:1 ] That’s a BIG problem if you’re trying to live out what you say you believe.

Second, I knew in my heart. I was longing for something more than this “little dream” could provide. I had been feeling that something was missing. A big something.

I was longing for more than mere money. I wanted purpose. Eternal purpose. Intangibles, with eternal significance.

So, my choice seemed clear to me.

I released my smaller dream believing for God’s MORE.

I let The Takers in my life, TAKE.

Without a war.

It wasn’t easy! It certainly wasn’t painless! You may be so Christ-like you could walk away from your half of a six-figure business, but me? I struggled BIG time, for a LONG-time!

But again, if we really believe what we read in our Bibles, then I knew there would be far-reaching eternal consequences to everyone’s choices.

I will come face-to-face with Jesus someday and answer for mine alone.

I will leave others to answer for theirs.

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So I made mine. I laid down this dream-come-true.

(Sigh.)

ONCE UPON A TIME… I had a little book shop.

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The loveliest little shop.

The sweetest, dreamiest, little shop.

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(Everyone said so.)

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But I laid it all down.

I gave up ALL those heavy weights for A God-Sized-MORE.

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“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and FOLLOW ME cannot be my disciple… In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”         Luke 14:25-27, 33-35 NIV

Thank you Abba for teaching me againNOTHING this world has to give matters more, satisfies me more… than Your smile.

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It was my great honor to serve you Siskiyou County. Thank you for your support and patronage, your friendship, and most of all, your love!

God bless you all, Martha “Molly” woundresser.com

Comfort My People

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Comfort my people? With what? (I know I’m your kid God but, jimmeny-crickets! Have you seen what’s goin’ on down here?)

How is comfort supposed to flow from such a dry and barren place?

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Besides… they are Your people God. You comfort them!

(I don’t even like most of them.)

Me?

(Oh no, You’re right.)

I don’t like me, either.

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I’ve become like them… mean, bad, and nasty.

Disillusioned and hard, and yes, dry.

This vineyard has destroyed whatever I once had.

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I had such high hopes once.

“Rivers of living water flowing OUT of me…”

That’s what I thought… hoped. Not this.

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Habakkuk’s Vineyard and living water… now THERE’S an oxymoron!

(I guess I just don’t get it.)

Oh, I know what “the crowd” will say…

What the crowd always says, “We told you so!”

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The crowd.

(The mean-bad-n-nasty, you mean.)

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Well let’s see… (Huh? Whadda ya say?)

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I don’t GET it?

(Yeah God, I just said that.)

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(You love them?)

The mean-bad-n-nasty crowd…

You love them?

Why?

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(I TOLD You I don’t get it.)

How can You love them? Me …them!

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I can’t stand to be in the same room with… them.

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(You know that?)

“Comfort them.”

…comfort?

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(How does one comfort The Enemy?)

I’m sorry God. All I have left are questions…

Mean, bad, and nasty questions.

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I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do what You ask.

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(It’s not in me anymore.)

The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“Comfort, yes comfort My people! says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 NKJV

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

I know I’m supposed to forgive my enemies God. (I know.) But I don’t even know where to begin… there’s so much stuff!

So many wounds. (They wanted to destroy me God!) They tried. Oh, how they have tried! Over, and over, and over again, and they almost succeeded God… so many times. (You know. – You saw.)

How do you forgive someone who is dedicated to the task of destroying you?

You know sometimes I feel just like a little kid again. Dad is standing over me telling me to, “Eat my yellow squash.” (I hate yellow squash!) I know it’s good for me… but that doesn’t mean I want to do it! (Yeah… just like forgiveness.)

Jesus help me. I can’t do this on my own. (They hate me so much… they wanted me dead!) It’s there in their eyes… in their deeds. Pure hatred.

So much, I can’t even bear to look at them anymore.

Where do I start Jesus? Where? The cross?

(We always come back to that, don’t we?)

 

Angry Christians Versus Faking It

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Not supposed to happen. Not supposed to exist. Not, us!

(I hear it everywhere…)

Denial.

“Tut-tut… shame-shame… don’t talk about it. Behave yourself… or please shut up!”

We’ve gotten so good at faking it.

Why do we in the Church think that trying to pretend to be something you are (quite obviously) not, is the way to go?

It’s everywhere, but then, so are angry Christians.

(Those crazy birds don’t have anything on us!)

Some of us are angry at the Church, the society we live in, and some of us, are really just good-and-ticked-off at ourselves. And, “Oh-my-oh-my!” some of us, are Mt. Vesuvius, ready to explode all over any poor soul who unfortunately gets a little too close!

It’s an angry world these days. Workplace violence, road rage, domestic violence in our homes, crazies attacking our kids at school, or the zealots who just plain lose it and gun folks down in our workplaces, shopping malls, and airports…

Why do we try to act like there are no angry Christians?

Is God unaware of our inner battles and angry frustrations?

(Of course not.)

Is the world?

(Not likely!)

I think they see and hear just fine.

So, why in heaven’s name, do we pretend like the problem doesn’t exist with us as well?

The bible says, “…be angry, but don’t sin.” [Ephesians 4:26] It does not say, “Pretend like you’re not angry, even when you really are, and everybody else knows it.” The bible admonishes us to deal with it quickly. Don’t let it last more than a day.

Doesn’t denial simply prolong our anger?

Personally, I think our anger goes on and on, because we continually try to deny it, bury it, or excuse it away, as something else. Let’s face it, there is a lot in this world to be angry about. I can totally relate to Jesus going into the temple, blowing His top, and overturning the money-changers tables. (The money-changers are alive and well in today’s church.) Perhaps we should, get a little more hot under the collar, when it comes to the pretense and phony posturing we see. Hypocrisy should make us angry, especially our own! Sin should make us angry.

Sins involving the exploitation of the innocent, bloodthirsty brutality, or the blatant evil we see all around us. These are the things that make God angry. The pain of the exploited and innocent. These are the things that should propel us to righteous behavior and righteous choices.

People? Especially the ones we dislike or disagree with? God valued them so much, He sent His only Son to die for them!

So, (if we are angry) perhaps we should ask ourselves some pointed questions like:

  • What am I angry at?
  • Or, who?
  • Or, why?

And, where am I pointing my anger? And, what will be the consequences of my anger? Will this anger of mine “…work the righteousness of God?” [James 1:20]

Or…

“Will I be numbered among the foolish goats?”

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The DREAM-MAKER’S Promise:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'” Matthew 25:31-40 NKJV

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Abba, help me to be angry about the things that make You angry. Give me the strength to let go of the stuff that is simply “the anger of fools” lest I be numbered among the foolish.

LORD, open my eyes to every opportunity You give me to make a difference in this world before You return for us. Forgive me for every time I’ve missed it… missed You, and what You wanted to do, and blown it BIG TIME!

Holy Spirit, give me wisdom to take every “talent” I’ve got and invest it for the Kingdom’s sake, for You, and for others. Lord help me see, betrayal is a huge boat, and I am not in that boat alone.

Why This Waste?

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That was my question. “Why this waste?”

I looked into my father’s face with the tears flooding down mine.

He wanted to give me an answer. (He didn’t have one.) At least not an easy one. Instead he tenderly responded, “…you are not the same person you were before all this began.”

(At the time that did little to assuage my anger and frustration.)

Why does God choose the wilderness for us?

My short answer: I don’t know.

But my bible says it’s a common classroom for the LORD.

It also says His deserts have graduated some distinguished bible heros.  Mega-men such as:  Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, the apostles Paul and John. Not to mention the Lord Jesus Himself who went straight into the wilderness after being baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit.

All of the above did a tenure in Desert-U.

I know The Church is fond of comparing “the wilderness” to our unredeemed and sinful state, but if that is so, then the above is even more unfathomable isn’t it?

Nope. Sorry. I think there’s just got to be more to it.

Personally I believe “the wilderness” affords God a place of exclusive one-on-one time with us; face to face and heart to heart. No distractions. Little interruption. And above all, a pure and haunting desperation to hear from Him.

There’s nothing quite like the desert to boil life down to the pure essentials!

  • Sand and heat.
  • Water and food.
  • Shelter and protection.
  • Life at its purest and most basic.

It seems a “no-brainer” to me.

The basics (and not much else) is a great and very effective attention-getter! On me, it works every single time.

It seems, in spite of myself—I learn.

Nowadays, The LORD may not choose a literal desert for us, but by own experience I can attest to the truth that God has no diffiuclty in clearing the chess board of my life, removing all distractions, and bringing me up-close and personal with the King Himself.

I find when He desires to take me into an intense time of teaching, or graphic instruction, the desert experience seems to be His MO.

God certainly does know how to turn up the heat.

When you are going through a time of great suffering (for whatever the reason) you do feel like your life has been turned into a hot and howling wasteland. A difficult “wilderness” might be my health, my finances, my relationships, or just my own heart’s lonely journey, but when God wants to speak to me, mono-a-mono, I find He prefers a desert of some kind, ’cause not all necessary skills can be learned via sweet harp music on “flowery beds of ease,” to quote Isaac Watts.

Unpopular, I know, but some things can only be learned via sorrow and suffering.

I say all of this for one reason: to encourage you.

I know. I can almost hear your, “Thanks a lot!” but here’s what I want you to believe.

The wilderness is not necessarily a punitive place of punishment. Lots of times it feels like it is. (Yeah, I know.) But perhaps it is something else. Perhaps it is for something good.

If you are going through a wilderness time know this for certain…

You are in exalted company number one; and two God is planning on using you and your experience or He wouldn’t be taking such great pains with you! You are a diamond in the rough and God is polishing His priceless gemstone… YOU.

(So be encouraged.)

The word of God says, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”  [Isa. 62:3]

Have you ever seen a diamond in the rough? Not much to look at. Just an old brown rock. Okay, so right now you may feel like a throwaway. Not much to look at, either. All of your life looks to you like you are drowning in an ocean of sand, but trust me, that is miles from the real truth! God is up to something with you. Something good.

Don’t give in. Don’t despair. And don’t give up.

God has a plan.

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The following resources have really helped a lot while walking through my own wilderness journeys:

School of Suffering

“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11).

This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God’s will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life–to be able to say in such a school of discipline, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?’–this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer. –Dr. Charles Parkhurst (emphasis mine)

***

To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him.

We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.

The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.

***

“Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.”

***

The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.

(from Streams in the Desert, by L. B. Cowman, Zondervan)

P. S.  For more help, I also encourage you to read Jamie Buckingham’s book: A Way Through The Wilderness

Lamentations of An Awful Grace

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Before we begin our sojourn to Habakkuk’s Vineyard I need to give a little backround to these posts. First, they were journaled years ago, yet I feel that they are just as applicable to The Church today as they were then. Maybe, more so.

Never have I seen a time where dreams and dreamers smash and crash with such devastating frequency! It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, or check your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or listen to The Evening News, and not be confronted with some new tragic and heartrending stories.

The Church is no exception. We, too, have our brokenhearted dreamers.

If we really love people, then we need to address the disenchantment many believers feel when their lives fall apart, for whatever the reason. We need to acknowledge their legitimate feelings of isolation and lonliness when ignored or dismissed as “just too messy or broken” and therefore made to feel like people of “little” value or worth. It’s time to give some deserved credence and credability to their angry frustrations and not just dismiss them as, irrelevant flotsam, or collateral damage.

When Robert Kennedy had to address an angry crowd after the assassination of Martin Luther King, he quoted an ancient poem by Aeschylus, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Perhaps the time has come for addressing the awful grace of God.

Jesus commanded us to bind up the brokenhearted. To remember those sitting in prison. He didn’t say, “But only if you think they deserve it, or you feel like it, or it will bring you some special benefit.” He just said, “Do it.”

So, having said all that, I share these coming posts hoping to accomplish two things:

First, to acknowledge the reality of angry and disillusioned believers. (I don’t think the Church likes to talk about them very much.) Yet they are everywhere; within the Church, and without. And, as with all serious problems, they won’t go away by simply ignoring or disparaging them as “misfits or disgruntled riff-raff.” Truth be told, ignoring them can open the door to much bigger problems.

Secondly, I want to bring some redemption and validity to these Believer’s complaints; their “right and real lament” over their predicaments. To have your life “taken captive” creates great frustration… and even anger. We like to expect oh-so-spiritual responses to suffering in The Church, but frankly I find that to be a little “pie-in-the-sky” unrealistic. There are multiple stages to grief, and anger is acknowledged to be a legitimate part of the process. I believe taking a sanctimonous attitude just piles on more guilt and isolation to people who are already hurting. Stuffing our anger or pretending it’s not there is not the bible’s way of dealing with it. Scripture is full of loud and vociferous lamentation, and by some very Godly men! I think it’s time to grant some very much needed grace to these folks, and listen.

If not here in The Church, then where exactly, are our captives supposed to take their angry frustrations? Especially when the silent message to them is often, “No one wants to hear it.” or worse, a superior and judgemental attitude that says, “You must have done something to deserve this!”

I believe most captives simply suffer in silence. Either that, or they take a “wax lips” approach. They slap a stoic smile on their face, and pretend everything is “fine” when in fact, just the opposite is true.

Whether you believe their captivity is deserved or underserved, my hope regardless is to bring the tender relief of basin and towel, along with some deep-down understanding, hope, and compassion for those among us who are hurting, and angry.

It’s high time they stopped feeling ignored, dismissed, or forgotten.

The experience I will relate is mine, but my story might also be yours, someday. To that end, let us all seek to learn how we might grant some patient grace and sow a little tenderness. (We just might be “paying it forward” for ourselves.)

May we be more like Jesus to ALL who are hurting.

(Enough said.)

Shall we take a bit of a roller coaster ride?

Ready or not, here we go…

Monday. Right here. We head into Habakkuk’s Vineyard.