Afghanistan, Anger, & Acceptance

From the moment I woke up until I clocked out of work, I was irritable — all day!

I was also confused because anger is not my go-to emotion. During the day, I kept plugging, unsure why I was so frustrated.

Thankfully, I had enough awareness to tell my kids, Daddy's frustrated today but not with you. Beyond that one proactive move, I didn't even want to reflect on my anger. I knew I needed to pray. But I didn't.

Later that evening, I decompressed into the couch, reluctantly closed my eyes, and asked Jesus what was up with me.

The images and headlines from Afghanistan that I'd seen all day flooded my mind.



Anger and then some

I was angry

  • Over the violence that the innocent would experience.

  • About the looming persecution for the church in Afghanistan

  • That our country's efforts to aid with stability did nothing to stop this evil.

  • That the way of power, destruction, and brutality seem to be the true way of things in this world.

I was also angry over the devastated, the displaced, the dying, and the dead Haitians after the earthquake. And, of course, the rising death toll from Covid angered me as well.


I held unspoken anger all day over the brokenness of our world. Yet, I carried much more than anger. Jim Harrington recently wrote,


This world is not as it should be. We know it, and we hate it.



Accepting what I can't control


While catching up with a friend, we talked about Afghanistan. My friend said, Is there anything we can do other than pray?

At this moment, the answer for most of us is no.

And that's the rub.

Like 2020, our lack of control reminds us again how little we can change in this out-of-control world (No wonder we're angry).

Yet, we're also reminded that prayer is our only option, and we're forced to surrender ourselves in faith-filled prayer.

To accept that:

  • I have little control.

  • God is sovereignly reining.

  • And I will resolve myself to plead to Him in prayer.

As Henry Nouwen says,

"Much of praying is grieving." (Source)

Yet prayer also powerfully works for the good of others (Matthew 7:7-11; James 5:16). In my own life, I sense an invitation in all this helplessness I feel — to accept my long-ignored limitations and to relearn the value of prayer.


In your helplessness, do you sense the call to depend more on your Savior too?



A Different Kind of Kingdom


It often seems that Darwin's survival of the fittest is the real message of the world. But God, in His mysterious mercy, has always worked through death and destruction.

Jesus says that true power and authority belong to the poor in spirit, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemaker, and the persecuted (Matthew 5:3-12).


The more I pray — grieving, groaning, and gasping out my requests — the more I hear that:

  • God's ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

  • He's a miracle worker shrouded in mystery.

  • Jesus suffered not to save us from suffering but to create a path from death to resurrection.

All this takes faith to believe, yet isn't faith (no matter how hard-fought-for) the whole point (Colossians 2:6-7).


Whatever challenging emotions the news stirs up in you, let's surrender ourselves to God in prayer, trusting Him to do what we cannot (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

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