Lord, I am drinking coffee with a vengeance this morning, I am doing more gulping than sipping, and the cup is hitting the table with a little more force than normal. Truth be told, hitting with more force than necessary, but I’m a lot mad and a little hurt. I keep asking this person to do something, but it never gets done. Every time I ask about it, apologies flow and promises are made for future behavior, but time usually reveals that the apologies are worthless and the promises are hollow. Next time I ask it will be the same cycle again. I feel as if I’m on one of those spinning amusement part rides where you go round and round just to end up where you were when you got on. Lord, You know I can’t just throw up my hands and walk away. My first reaction is to let this person know that I’m angry, but then I hear Your voice pointing me to scripture. The Bible tells me over and over to refrain from anger. Psalms says to avoid anger because it leads to evil. Proverbs tells me that being angry makes me do foolish things and that getting angry over things like this doesn’t even make sense. James says to be slow to speak in anger because it doesn’t show Your righteousness. So what can I do to change this person? I think Thomas A’Kempis summed up this situation perfectly when he said “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be”. Okay, Lord, I know that sometimes You speak through other people when You speak to us, and that is speaking to me. How many times have I asked You for forgiveness but go back and do the same things all over again? How many promises have I made to You? How many times have I apologized? Thank You, Lord, that You forgive me and love me even when I don’t follow through on my promises. Thank You, Lord, that You never throw up Your hands and walk away. Lord, help me to follow Your direction and show Your love.
Psalm 22:1-2: My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Why are You so far from my deliverance
and from my words of groaning?[b]
2 My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer,
by night, yet I have no rest. (HCSB)
2 Timothy 4:16-17: At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. (HCSB)
I am sitting here in the quiet of the morning, drinking my coffee, and pondering on a story I recently read. Two girls had memorized the last words of Jesus and had taken some of Jesus’ final words to describe their lives. One had chosen Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing” (HCSB). She lived her life that way, never carrying anger or bitterness and always being quick to forgive. The other girl chose Matthew 27:46 “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (HCSB). She had led a difficult life. She had a father who was physically abusive to her mother and verbally and emotionally abusive to her. She lived in poverty in an area where poverty was considered a character flaw. She was bi-racial, and her grandparents considered that a sin and refused to acknowledge her existence. I look at her life and think that I can understand how she would feel that God had abandoned her. She did carry anger, had lots of bitterness, and refused to forgive. She began to live her life by the oft quoted “scripture” that isn’t even scripture at all — God helps those that help themselves. In the end, she realized that You had always been there. You had protected her from certain situations. You had sent people into her life at certain times. Her new scripture became Matthew 28:20 “I am always with you.” Lord, my life has been nothing like that girl’s life. I’ve never been abused, or lived in poverty or been considered a walking sin. But, there have been many times when I too asked “why have You forsaken me?” Lord, I sit here with my empty coffee cup and a humble heart. You have been so good to me. I need to be like David and say “Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord cares for me (Psalm 27:10, HCSB), but often I am more like David in Psalm 22:1-2 asking why. 2Timothy 4:16-17 says that even when I feel abandoned by other people, You are always there. 1 Peter 5:7 tells me to give You all my worries because You care for me. Father God, please help me to abandon Matthew 27:46 as my mind set and replace it with Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” (HCSB)