Rage Queen

“Instead store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and robbers cannot break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

One year ago, if someone told me the circumstances we would have in our country right now, I’d have thought they were insane. No way could that much possibly happen at one time! It would be incredulous to have protests all over, natural disasters of epic proportions, a global pandemic, a BIG recession, and ferociously feuding politicians during an election year! No way! Impossible! Nope. Possible. Actual.

I was in the eye of Hurricane Sally recently and got really, really scared. So much so that I went and slept in our old, cast iron bathtub. The damning winds, snapping trees, and rain pummeling us for hours had me in fervent prayer at 4am. I’d been through several hurricanes before and assumed same old, same old. Oh, how I was wrong! When we saw daylight, we saw new topography and landscape in our yard. Things had changed permanently. Yes, a few bad incidents happened like a boat and car got totaled but not one of 60 trees fell on or torpedoed through my home. Miraculous, truly miraculous.

Boat Placed in Our Yard for Protection by Friends

I cannot complain one second that another hurricane is headed to the Gulf Coast or about lack of electricity, internet, AC, etc. of recent weeks. I cannot, will not, and SHOULD NOT because some people actually live in these conditions all the time. In America, we have had such prosperity for so long it seems an entitlement. This frightens me more than the actual hurricane did.

What has occurred to me is that I was not ready for 2020. I cannot imagine most people were ready for such intense, life altering circumstances all at once. I believe every single person breathing has been affected in one way or another. I will admit, it got to me last week when things had been so rough for so long that I indulged myself by throwing a mega, pity party. I cried, got angry, exploded at co-workers and felt absolutely horrible afterwards. That party stunk and I don’t believe I’ll ever host one again.

To indulge ourselves in emotional anger only fans the flame. Once burning, it’s destruction is swift and fast. It leaves charred remains and a blackness like none other. I quickly recognized I was getting no where and genuinely disliked myself. I sent her bye-bye and won’t invite that bitty over ever again.

Then, I started thinking what I could have done differently to avoid such idiocy in the first place? I consider myself a practicing Christian and believe I TRY to live by faith and God’s promises. Yet, what happened that flipped my switch off and turned me into the rage queen????

I have asked myself and God these questions. I think He has provided the answer. I allowed myself to get worn down by not prioritizing what I should have and instead spent precious time on frivolous pursuits. This robbed me of important energy. Second, I indulged myself in numbing activities that did nothing but make matters even worse. Third, I wasn’t seeking guidance through disciplined prayer and Bible reading. I also wasn’t exercising (picking up limbs wasn’t enough??). I know myself and what works to keep me healthy and on track. I was not practicing those things.

So, I went back to basics and made myself do what felt unnatural and inconvenient. Why? Because this I know- it has worked before and if I truly, really, honestly believe in Jesus and all He has done for me, I darn better live like it!! I’m not preaching at anyone but myself. This was my experience and I recognize we are all free to believe (or not), worship (or not), and live like we want because we are in the “Land of the Free.” I also believe God is big enough to understand our disbelief and human weaknesses. He just sits back waiting to be invited to whatever we have going on- the good, the bad and the ugly. All we have to do today is ask for help from Him. That’s it- pretty basic and clear.

Next, I got thinking about America compared to the early nation of Israel. Back in Moses and Joshua’s time, they were a stubborn bunch and it cost them dearly. Only the offspring were allowed to inherit the Promised Land. Then, that bunch got wild and indifferent and forgot too. It kept going until the fall of Judah- the last remnant. Our blessed country is not yet 300 years old and we are in a mess. I still believe we can work this out, however, and come together to improve things. I still have HOPE for a better tomorrow.

This gets me back to my last point. If we prepare properly for storms, negative circumstances, crises, and sickness by planning ahead and being ready, it won’t be as painful to weather whatever comes. (Here comes my self-preaching again.) I absolutely HAVE to practice spiritual discipline by filling up my spiritual warehouse EVERY SINGLE DAY, regardless what’s going on. It’s essential, less the rage queen comes back for a visit and she’s a terrible houseguest.

GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?

I’ve failed at attempts to reconcile our global pandemic, societal unrest, racial injustice, and political chaos. Spiritually, I am struggling and asking, “God, where are you?” I truly believe He is ever present and all knowing. I believe He is a just and good God. So why is all this happening and what does he want us to do?

Originally, I equated COVID-19 to science fiction, but now it tops my news feed. Reality has become WORSE than sci-fi. I also read in “Time” that global warming is imminent. Climate change is apparently devastating Earth and like Covid, not going away any time soon. If God created this world and man is custodian, we are apparently failing. So what would God suggest we do?

Along with scientifically terrifying scenarios, there’s societal upheaval from decades of injustice. One person unleashed fury that demands to be reckoned with. Whether referring to the current movement or coronavirus, one person’s choice has had an unbelievable reach. I see one person CAN change the world.

From prayer and scripture reading, I’ve come to understand the following: God wants us to recognize we are NOT Him; we are NOT entitled to ANYTHING; we are His creation and only temporarily here. Our comfort and enjoyment are not the point of our existence. If anyone reads the Old Testament, he can read of suffering for waywardness. Is this possibly why God is allowing our circumstances today?

Referring to the Old Testament, plagues, wars, and destruction are not new. All of this can be recounted in scripture. Man has the uncanny knack to obediently follow God but then drift away. If we look at our country’s 200+ year history, it’s not hard to decipher which way the pendulum has swung. So I cannot help but wonder if there’s a reason all this is happening now? Are we at a point of reckoning?

The believer in me wants so badly to find God in the midst of the storm. I desperately want to believe God is still God and He is aware of our plight. Yet life suddenly seems so fragile. People are financially, physically and emotionally devastated. Hospitals are filling up to the point refrigerator trucks are substituting as morgues. Why is my loving God allowing such circumstances?

Seeking further understanding, I look to history. Plagues aren’t new. They’ve happened many times before. It seems we are just the lucky “once in a hundred years” recipients of a global pandemic. And when last has our society collectively been outraged for a movement to occur? That was 50 years ago. If events just happen, why so many collectively now? Could this be one big wake up call?

With all this questioning, I have to return to what I DO know. I DO know God is the alpha and omega. I DO know He wants us to enjoy His presence and a relationship with us. I DO know He loves us and wishes us no harm. I DO know He has provided for and responded to urgent prayer in my life before. I DO know He promises us a future and eternal life in His majestic presence. All I have to do is believe, trust and remain obedient.

I cannot answer the whys of our current circumstances. I also realize I cannot fix them. But I can be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone else who might need them. I can pray and trust and remain obedient. I CAN listen so as to understand others. I CAN develop more empathy for others. I CAN try to be a better steward of Earth. And I CAN exercise my freedom to vote. I also CAN trust that “ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE THE LORD.”

The Twilight Zone

Recently I was wondering if we were on a movie set like “The Truman Show.” Is a director about to yell, “Cut!” And we’re all about to be told this is all a big hoax? Never would I have imagined our predicament were possible outside a Hollywood sci-fi movie. This situation has me recalling Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” and I think we are all starring in a strange, double feature.

We seem stuck in a time warp with people asking when we will get back to normal. I am wondering if instead, we are hitting an invisible reset button that will forever change our existence? We cannot assume immunity anymore. Terrorism was our greatest threat but now even terrorists are being terrorized. The entire world is being attacked collectively. We will all have to learn from each other to manage a future outbreak.

Last Sunday my husband pushed me to join our family for a kayak excursion. Reluctantly, I went and was pleasantly surprised at the meditative calm I experienced while drifting down river. The cool breeze under green canopies was peaceful. I also observed a large cross on someone’s waterfront that reminded me of the cross on the St. Lawerence River and El Cristo Rey in Cali, Colombia. It was huge and rustic and was stuck in the center of their peninsula. I was grateful for it and it’s unexpected appearance. It was like I was being sent the message, “Hey, remember me? Remember the suffering I went through? I KNOW what you all are experiencing.” That was a good reminder to continue to hope regardless of the daily news.

A major concern of mine has been my older ladies in a retirement community. They cannot go anywhere or visit one another. All activities and meals are cancelled. They cannot have visitors less immediate family. This virus has given even more loneliness to people who were already dealing with health issues AND loneliness. I call and send flowers (with MD approval) but that’s all I can do. It seems insult upon injury for them.

My home on the other hand is the opposite. I have everyone home all at once on what feels like an extended summer with endless dishes and laundry. I pine for peace and quiet yet know this is not forever. It is a moment in time in history. We will all remember it vividly as everyone and everything seems impacted.

We all are getting weary and restless. Someone today posted that if anyone was wondering, today is “March 97th.” That is absolutely what it feels like. And tomorrow is the beginning of a new month. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone could say April Fools! It’s all fake news and not really happening! I’d probably drop dead like the man on the Twilight Zone episode where his friends had him arrested for some unknown crime as a ploy to deliver him to his surprise party. He dropped dead in the doorway when everyone yelled, “Surprise!”