Painful Illumination

I was angry – really angry.  I wanted to kick something, or hit something, or scream and cry, or throw up.  What I didn’t want to do was what I knew to do – forgive.  I thought I had, but apparently I had suppressed some emotions along the way, rather than really dealing with the issues, and they waited for the “appropriate” time to surface with much venom attached.  As if the anger itself wasn’t bad enough, after stewing a bit, I began to turn it toward the Lord.  “Why haven’t You done something about this, God?!”  “What about all those prayers I’ve prayed over the years?!”  Even knowing that He is my only hope, and the only One Who could help me through, over, and out of this boiling cauldron of anger, I didn’t want to let go right then.

A little while later, I actually tried to rationalize the anger, thinking maybe it was righteous anger, though I knew better.  It certainly wasn’t compelling me to anything good, like praying – only to letting my mind go wherever it wanted, right down the path of listing all the wrong things that had been done to me, and the things I’d like to say and do in retaliation.

The quiet thought that Jesus wouldn’t be dwelling on what I was dwelling on in this anger began to shine His Light on the darkness around me.  It began to dismantle the anger so that I was no longer in its grips.  It wasn’t because of anything I did, like pray or repent.  Whether someone prayed for me at the urging of the Holy Spirit, or it was simply the Life of Jesus making intercession for me (Hebrews 7:25), I don’t know.  What I do know is that the Holy Spirit broke through, praise the Lord.  Once He did, the anger became God’s anger, as it turned toward the real enemy, the one who has continued to bind up anyone he can so as to keep them from freedom in Christ.  At that point, I repented.  At that point, I forgave.  At that point, I was restored to my God-given position of intercession for all those like the one toward whom my anger had been directed just moments earlier.

Even in the worst of the anger, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the trial, because of what the Lord had shown my prayer group as we prayed for the body of Christ.  He prepared us for how it was going to affect us, personally, though not with specifics other than that it would be painful in the process, with greater glory for Him on the other side of it.  Regardless of the pain, I will say, “But God!”  He will never leave me helpless, even when I rant and accuse Him!  He is the perfect Parent, and He knows just how far to let me go in a tantrum before bringing it to an end – in the best way.  How thankful I am for His mercy!  How thankful I am that He keeps working to change me, though my flesh has a screaming fit.  From these painful times, there is even less of me and more of Him visible to those around me.  Glory to God alone!

Hebrews 12:6-7, 10-11 “6 . . . the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.  7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” NIV

To end this blog post, I want to share a video that is a powerful word picture, in skit form, about the Lord’s work in us.  I can’t embed it, but click on http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=849dc7c803281df74bb2 to watch “God’s Chisel.”  It’s nine minutes, but you won’t even notice the time.

Blessings as you feel the hammer and chisel in your own lives – for the glory of God!

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