I’m angry. Not all the time, mind you. I wouldn’t say I struggle with anger, necessarily. But the past 18 months have certainly given all of us reasons to be angry. And to stay angry.
I’m frustrated with coronavirus and the debate with vaccines and masks.
We’re angry at the government and leaders.
I’m heart-broken over the loss of life in Afghanistan.
I’m saddened for the people suffering in Myanmar through COVID and civil war.
I’m saddened for the people of Haiti recovering from a devastating earthquake and those impacted by hurricane Ida in the South.
Not to mention the many personal things stirring up anger in my life.
While anger is sometimes an appropriate response and certainly an emotion created by and experienced by Jesus… I believe followers of Jesus need to check ourselves daily in this tumultuous season. Christians have a unique opportunity to show off God’s unrelenting love in the midst of a culture that desperately needs it. I think Paul gives us some great instruction on this. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. -Romans 8:22-23 Here’s the truth: Things have been hard, tumultuous, and frustrating since Adam and Eve decided to follow their own path instead of God’s. The earth has been in pain since that day. We have been grieving, impatient, and angry about our circumstances for a few millennia. Nothing new. Things aren’t worse now. We are waiting, still, for a better day ahead. As Christians, we wait for God to make all things right and new again; For our salvation to be fully realized! Paul goes on… 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:24-25 Our hope is hope because we don’t yet have what we’re longing for. Notice that our hope isn’t found in answers about vaccines or masks. Our hope isn’t found in government. Our hope isn’t in our opinions, buildings, culture, or circumstances. We eagerly wait for something more! So, what should our response be, as followers of Jesus? 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27 Paul tells us to pray. He reminds us that the Holy Spirit goes to the Father on our behalf when our anger, frustration, or grief is so strong that we don’t even know what to pray for. We need to be a people of prayer. Prayer should be our go-to response. We should pray for people and for our heart’s response. Paul says this in chapter 12: 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need… White Oak… let us be the people who always lead with love. We have a right to be angry at times. But, we have a command to love. Be sure your obedience has more weight than your rights. When it does, love will shine on the path to full life in Jesus and that’s the path we want our neighbors on. Striving with you, Nathan Be sure to participate in the NEXT round of a 2-minute survey as we partner with the Christian Church Leadership Network in measuring Devotion to Christ's Character. You can access the survey by clicking here.
Nathan Hinkle Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church