“Search me, O God and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I’ve had recent cause to suffer a great amount of indignation over a situation involving a loved one.
Though I’ll spare the details, I’ll share what I learned from the experience.
I think I know myself pretty well. When conflict arises I tend to avoid confrontation, pray about most things and ignore others. If particularly agitated I may vent, but otherwise I try to take the high road.
Not so in this case–in heart anyway. By the grace of God I kept my mouth shut, because my initial internal reaction involved a million things I wanted to say, a billion ways I wanted to react, few of them godly. Stunned disbelief turned to fury–an emotion foreign enough to me that I smiled when I felt it.
I know. Crazy-lady scary.
The loved one is dear to me, but not someone I absolutely have to keep in my life. So great was the affront and pain it caused, I considered walking away completely.
Then I noticed my husband. He bore the offense with grace. Though it crushed his left cheek, he gave his right to be struck. He took it with dignity, and loved all the more.
When I married him I believed him a peacemaker. He lived up to that belief. The same situation showed me, however, things in my heart I didn’t know were there, and other things lacking that I thought were full.
And though I don’t like this trial–loathe it actually–I see its purpose, or at least the good that can come from it.
Some of us go through life thinking we’re Davids, men and women after God’s own heart. Then tragedy strikes and we learn our name is really Solomon. We started strong but don’t finish well.
Others think we have the faith of Sarah, who believed God’s word that she would conceive despite her old age. Yet offense appears and we find we have her vindictiveness instead.
And then there are the Sampsons who walk in God’s strength with boldness, but temptation comes and cuts them down where they stand.
I was vindictive Sarah that day, and many days afterwards. I wanted this person to suffer. I knew how to strike back, and I craved to do it. But in the end I relented.
Because, like Joseph, I fear the Lord.
God, in His goodness, is constantly shaping us, revealing the character of our hearts, giving us free will to do something about it.
Despite our temporary failures, we can still be Davids, Joshuas, Josephs, Hannahs, Ruths, Abigails.
We just have to choose to be.
Your turn: Who are you?