…… is something I’ve been dealing with lately.
Now before I continue, I need to say that there is no finger pointing contained in this post. I’m not writing about anyone personally. I’m writing about my feelings, which are mine, and mine alone (although some readers will perhaps relate to them).
When I read about good things happening in the lives of my friends, I truly am happy for them, no matter how else I also feel.
Now, where was I?
Oh yes …… misplaced anger.
Has anyone else noticed that there are a boat load of wedding anniversaries in the summer?
Well of course there are. There always have been. Always.
I’m sure that in the past 7 1/2 years there have been just as many as there are this summer. But for some reason, I’ve never noticed them as much as I have this year.
If you’re on Facebook then perhaps you, too have noticed.
It’s been constant.
I dare say that it’s been daily.
Friends wishing their spouses a happy anniversary.
Again, I’m very happy for all of my friends who are married and who’ve had anniversaries this summer. Truly.
But …… all of these posts have started to trigger something inside of me.
And that something is anger, pure and simple.
I’m not proud of that, but it’s there.
With every additional post I can feel another log thrown into the furnace burning within.
A slowly building fire that starting to gain strength and heat.
It’s probably also kind of a greenish color.
Because I’m jealous.
Every time I see a post that says a couple has been married over 25 years, the fire becomes a deeper green.
I don’t feel angry towards any one person.
Not a human person, anyway.
But I surprised myself when I finally realized that I’m angry at God.
Or should I say …… I’m still angry at God.
And getting angrier.
There’s a second thing going on that’s been stoking that angry fire inside of me.
Have you seen a new TV show this summer called, “Answered Prayers”?
If you have, and you’re widowed, then you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
It’s on TLC and is hosted by Roma Downey. She and her husband produce it.
I know that they are Christians and that they’ve done a lot in faith-based movies and TV. And I’m glad about that.
But this show …… this show makes me angry. Or maybe, I make myself angry when I watch it.
But it seems to me that it tells only half of the story.
The show features 2 or 3 people a week and their true stories about life and death situations that happened to them.
All of these stories have had happy endings. People are brought back from the brink of death, or rescued from sure death accidents …… because of prayer.
And not just prayer.
But “answered prayer”.
God heard their prayers and said, “Yes”.
And these people were healed, rescued, saved, etc.
Happy, happy endings.
But here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.
God doesn’t always say yes.
Sometimes he gives you a big, fat, “NO”.
But that’s still an answer.
This show makes me feel …… strike that.
When I watch this show I feel the same way I feel when I hear someone say, “If you’d only had enough faith …”; “If you’d only prayed hard enough …”; “If you’d only truly believed …”
Yes, I’ve personally heard all three of those partial sentences. They start out the same: “If you’d only …”.
And they end the same: “God would’ve saved him”.
Is it any wonder that some people turn from their faith, and others never approach faith at all, when their loved one dies and they hear something like that?
Nothing stokes the anger inside of me as fast as those kind of words.
Nothing brings my anger level from zero to a million faster than those people.
And this show, without giving the other answer, without giving the rest of the story, really does make me feel white hot anger.
From my experience (and I can only cite mine) God gives three answers to most of our questions:
“Wait.” Which will ultimately end in either “Yes” or “No”.
God, much like most human parents, sometimes says, “No.”
Yet loves us as much as those who received a “Yes”.
The answer has nothing to do with the love.
I have no doubt that He loves me.
In spite of my anger.
And maybe because of my anger.
To claim that, because people prayed and someone escaped death, God heard and answered prayer …… is to tell already hurting people that God only hears some people.
And he evidently doesn’t hear them.
Who wants to follow that kind of God?
Who can feel love from that kind of God?
And who can give sound Biblical evidence of that kind of God?
That’s not the God I know.
That’s not the God I love.
That’s not the God who loved the world so much that sent His only son to die for EVERYONE.
So, while I’m happy that these people were saved from death …… I’m going to stop watching “Answered Prayers”.
Because it’s time for me to finally let go of my anger.
And because God did answer my prayers that day/night (and thousands of others’).
He said, “No”.