Well, I didn’t do so hot on my midterm exam in the class I’m currently taking. Pretty bad, actually. Yea, pretty much bombed it. Whenever something like this happens, I always get kind of down on myself. It’s easy to throw that pity party and sit in a pool of misery. But I’m learning to be a bit smarter when it comes to setbacks. I’m learning to go to the One who can get me through even the toughest of circumstances. My friend. My Savior. Jesus.
I admit that today, though, I felt kind of mad at him. A kind of mad I haven’t felt for a long time. It’s the kind that had me questioning why there have to be bumps in the road at all. Why can’t it all just be smooth sailing? Anyway, the one great thing about having matured in my faith is coming to the understanding that it’s okay to be mad at God. It’s okay to bring my frustrations before him. In fact, if I try to cover up my anger and grief, I’m really only lying to one person, well, three actually—me, myself and I. God knows I’m mad. He knows my grief. I think he just maybe wants me to own it sometimes.
Why? Because I believe he meets me in my grief. It’s the questions that bring out his faithfulness. It’s the questioning that shines a light on his promises. I know it did for me today.
Later on, I grabbed my well-worn, trusty old Bible and a cup of coffee and just sought out my Savior. Here’s what he had to offer. A few promises, actually. Four written on the front cover. They all spoke to me in different ways, things I needed to be reminded of, things I needed to hear. The one that helped me past the bombing of my test?
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, oh Lord, endures forever.
As those words sunk in, I remembered, God has a plan for my life. It’s a good plan—one that no one and nothing can thwart, not even a crummy old mid-term.
I hope you know that, too, and that after reading this, you take two things away. Number one? It’s okay to be angry with God. And number two? He has a promise for every question mark you bring to him. So, don’t be afraid to get real. A word of caution, however. After you’ve poured out your soul, be prepared to listen to what he has to say. I don’t think he’ll scold you, unless you really need it that is. But I do think he’ll meet you where you are and bring you his sure and certain promises to apply as balm to any and all of your battle scars. God’s peace be with you always, my friends. ‘Til next time.
Tonight, I was thinking about some things going on at work and I got kind of sad because, let’s be honest, sometimes the work place can bring a little drama with it. It kind of has to do with people being upset with each other and thinking the worst about each other, and it just got me down.
People being upset with each other is nothing new. It’s been happening since the dawn of time. Well, almost the dawn. Let’s just say it all went awry in a little garden called Eden. Adam and Eve yea, you’ve heard of them - how they blamed each other for their sad, sad tale and the sad, sad state they found themselves in. But, hey, let’s face it, their story is our story. We blame each other. We pick at each other. We tear each other down, rather than building each other up.
And it doesn’t just happen in the workplace, it happens everywhere. It plays out on our television sets every night on the evening news. It happens in our backyards, in our homes, in every part of our lives there’s the potential for strife and division. It’s very much so a reality of the America we live in these days, isn’t it?
All of this got me to thinking about myself - how I act when situations arise that are a little unpleasant, uncomfortable, when someone makes me upset or does something I don’t like. And I realized something, when those moments come, I can either become part of the problem or I can become part of the solution.
Part of the problem. The problem is we choose to see the worst in each other instead of the best, we pick at each other and pretend like we have it all together when in reality we’re as much a mess as the person we judge so severely. We like to see ourselves as better, but if you take a moment and think about it, are you really any better?
Jesus warned about our hypocrisy in Matthew 7.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
So how do you stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution? Take some time. Do some soul searching. Ask God to show you if your heart is right with him. If it’s not, get before him and start fixing things. That’s how you become part of the solution. You start with you. You first. Always.
Then, you reach out and remember that God loves your neighbor as much as he loves you. He died for them, too. No matter how much they annoy, frustrate, ignite the deepest, darkest feelings within you, he died for them. He loves them. So should you.
I don’t know about you but there’s enough strife and division in my world already. I’d rather not add to it. I want to be part of the solution. I want to start making things better. After all, as God’s children isn’t that what we’re called to do, make things better? I hope you want the same for yourself. Love. Love. Love. It can’t get any better than that. A love that is pure and simple and true. That’s how you can start becoming part of the solution. Love always. Love first.