July 20, 2017
God, why don’t You do anything? How long will You stay silent? How much more can I take? I hate these people. And I know that’s wrong. You ask for me to love them but God, there is no room in my heart to love them. – A portion of my angry letter to God
I wrote God an angry letter. Our grumpy neighbors are still grumpy. I know I’ve been holding onto bitterness and resentment against them for a long time and it finally all came out. One small thing led to another and I had enough. And I took it upon myself to tell the Lord exactly how I felt about them and how I felt about myself.
What’s interesting is how the Lord answered my angry prayer/letter.
Earlier that day, I read the morning devotion of my Daily Light.
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16) He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isa. 53:3) “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. (Heb. 7:26) That you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. (Phil. 2:15) Jesus of Nazareth…went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10) That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:9) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)
***Emphasis by me***
There is so much there that spoke to my heart that evening when I reread it. I felt defeated. I felt helpless. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. I felt like the authorities were being unfair because they didn’t understand the situation we were in. I felt like we had a biased mediator who was going between my parents and the grumpy neighbors. I know he was compassionate and kind yet I didn’t feel like justice was being served the way I wanted it to be. I longed to march over to our neighbors and give them a piece of my mind. My heart burned with anger because there was so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it to their faces. I couldn’t say it to anyone’s. My thoughts were mean and ugly and I didn’t want anyone to know exactly how I felt.
But the Lord reminded me of this: I have such a great High Priest who was in all points tempted as I am, yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) The authorities may be playing mediator here, but I have the perfect mediator interceding for me in Heaven on my behalf. In the meantime, I have a job to do. I have a purpose in this life here on earth. And I had forgotten why I’m here in the first place.
At precisely 3:43 p.m. that afternoon, my missionary friend from Niger sent out an email update. I was still at work, but I stopped to read the email. It was around the time that Mom was coming to pick me up and I know it was minutes after she had yet another visit from the authorities concerning our next door neighbors. Anyways. In his email, Nate highlighted about five things but only two things stuck with me: his engagement (!!!) and the robbery. Back in June, he was robbed of his Bible, his notes, his backup notes, his computer, his passport, his visas, everything. But he wrote something that made me stop. He said,
“So often, I claim I want to know God, but do I truly want the opportunities in which to know Him?
We don’t have to understand the WHY when we know the WHO.
To know Him as my Provider, there must be a need.
To know Him as my Sustainer, there must be extended difficulty.
To know Him as my Comforter, there must be hurt.
To know Him as my Healer, there must be infirmity.
To know Him as my Deliverance, there must be a form of bondage.
To know Him as my Peace, there must be turmoil.
To know Him as the Resurrection, there must be death.”
My first thought was, “Wow, that is so true. What a godly perspective. Nathan has such a good attitude about this.” My second thought was, “I don’t think I could be this gracious. I know this is the right response to have, but I don’t think my heart would do that.”
Mom shared with me on the ride home that as she came to pick me up, a man on the radio shared his 5-minute devotional. The gist of it was, “We as Christians have peace because we know what the end of our story is: God wins. We can go to sleep and get a goodnight’s rest because we’ve read the last chapter and we know that God will make everything right in the end.” Yet I still went to bed with a heavy heart that night. I wanted God to make things right right now. Little did I know that He really was making all things right and He was starting with me.