In the past six months, I have said good-bye to too many people who mattered to me. Members of my church family. Children's ministry workers whose absence will be keenly felt. Professors who poured their lives into me in seminary years ago. Most recently, a remarkable young woman whose future impact for God's kingdom would have been incredible, given the mark she made in the nineteen years she had on this Earth. Along with these, so many friends have said good-bye to their babies - children whose lives could have, would have, made a difference in the world and in their families.
So yeah, I'm weary.
I'm also mad.
Is it okay to admit this?
Because I am. Not just sad or frustrated or disappointed. Mad. Angry.
And to be perfectly honest, I think it's mostly justified.
I'm angry because this world is sin-scarred and broken. "The whole creation groans" (Romans 8:22) and so do I, when that brokenness shows itself in sickness and drunk driving and cancer and death and broken hearts and dinner tables with a forever-empty place.
I'm angry because I am limited. I'm limited in my ability to fix the broken. I feel helpless and that makes me mad because I want to fix, to heal, to make changes in the world, and I can't. I'm also limited in my understanding, in the "your ways are higher than my ways" kind of understanding. I don't understand God's decisions, why some are healed and others are not. Maybe it wouldn't help if I did, but I don't, and it frustrates me completely.
I'm angry because I am Homesick. I know how things used to be before "creation was subjected to frustration" (Romans 8:20) by sin, and I know how it will be someday when it is "liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Now, in the in-between and the groaning, I am Homesick and mad that life is the way it is.
Anger is not a stranger to me. It was my steady companion in the first months after we lost Naomi. Like now, back then I felt that it was justified. But justified or not, it is a dangerous companion to have for long, with the potential to subtly rule both relationships and one's rational thoughts. And now, like then, God is oh-so-gently showing me what to do with my mad.
When I'm angry over sin and brokenness, I can remember that's why we need a Savior, and why Jesus came in the first place. I can remember that he wept over the sin of Jerusalem and that He got angry at hard hearts and puffed up arrogance. I can pour out my anger to Him because He gets it. I can cast my cares on Him.
When I'm angry over my limitations, I can let that drive me closer to God, remembering that one result of our trials is that "we might not rely on ourselves, but on God" (2 Corinthians 1:9 NIV). I can choose to trust that He is wise, even - especially - when I don't understand. I can turn to Him in prayer for the people I love who are caught in the broken, making it not my last resort, but my first.
When I'm angry because life it not yet as it should be, I can look toward His return. I can choose to believe that Heaven is more real than Earth. I can choose to live for eternity and to do what I can, through my words and actions, to speed His return (2 Peter 3:11-12). I can immerse myself in the worship of God almighty, knowing that in those moments, I am closest to Heaven and those who dwell there in God's presence.
I am mad. But by the grace of God, maybe my mad can be transformed into good for others and a closer walk with the One who can redeem anything and never wastes a hurt.