This wasn’t the New Year’s post I intended to write.
Usually at this time of year I’m knee deep in cleaning and purging and the newness of new beginnings. The post that I would have written would have been full of resolve and hope and new breath.
But I’ve spent the past day and night angry.
If you know me you know that anger is not and never has been my go-to emotion. My mother can remember only once when, as a child, I was overcome by anger and my adult life reflects that inborn temperament (and a supportive and liistening husband). But in this past 6 months there have been too many straws and this camel’s back is broken.
Too much hurt, too many people who should have known better, too many headlines, too many steps backward when our world should be so many steps farther forward in how we see and treat each other. Too much tiptoeing and too little grace.
And Too Much Fear and because of that, not enough justice.
I am angry to tears and, frankly, don’t know what to do with myself.
So I pray in anger, knowing that God has heard these sorrows before. Heard David cry out for justice, heard Job cry out his grief, heard the widow’s pleading.
My prayers offered through gritted teeth were heard and answered.
‘There is a fire burning inside you’
A fire inside me.
A fire inside this woman who has felt trampled and bruised from loss of ministry and work. A fire inside this woman who has prayed for months for courage to handle what may come next or may not come at all.
What I have seen, what I have heard, the stories I’ve listened to over coffee and across hospital beds. These stories have lit a fire within me. A crying out to God fire, lit by his heart for the people who he loves. The pushed aside, the forgotten, the victims, the lost. The second and third classes of life who Jesus said, ‘go out and be with, because there I am’.
With Them and to Them. Justice and mercy pouring out like holy fire.
Like David in the Psalms crying out, “God, with all of who you are, fix this!”
I did not expect the headlong courage of my twenties to come pouring into me like molten lava. That the answer to my heart’s prayer for a return of courage would be like this, outward and fierce and so unselfconscious.
And I have no idea what to do with it.
Because being angry is not enough.
And righteous anger without God’s wisdom and guidance burns more than it cleanses. Guns blazing means others get caught in the cross fire.
I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what’s best.
Anger doesn’t usually come with a well thought out plan. Many plans, yes, but nothing wise or well-formulated and Christ-centered. So I take a breath and sit with my prayers and my anger. And I wait for I’m not sure what. And I wonder, what is the good purpose in this anger?
I don’t know. Yet.
But it changes my focus, it changes my resolve as I go into this new year. My resolve is to seek wisdom, and justice,and opportunity. To follow the Spirit’s leading into the hard places with the hard people and hard situations. To seek truth and mercy hand in hand. To let the courage carry me beyond where my abilities end and fall into complete reliance on God’s indefatigable strength.
What a year it could be.