As we continue through Breast Cancer Awareness month this October, we turn the pages of my new devotional, The Faith to Free-Fall, past the first chapter, “Shock,” to the second chapter- “Anger.”
Though I wrote this devo specifically for women anticipating undergoing a mastectomy, I believe we’ve all been angry at times when things haven’t turned out the way we thought they would. Or maybe…the way we thought they should.
You lose your patience a little more quickly, snap at your loved ones a little more suddenly, slam the cupboard a little harder. And you feel it. Simmering deep within you. Anger.
Anger that this is happening to you. Anger that you can’t do anything to stop it. And maybe, just maybe, anger that God isn’t doing anything to stop it.
Because the same divine Hand that spins Jupiter could just as easily reach down and pluck the cancer from your breast or change your genetic code, right?
Yes, He could. Story after story in the Bible, from leprous Naaman to terminal Hezekiah, confirms that God has the power to miraculously heal.
We know that He can.
But often, He doesn’t.
And that makes us mad.
Because we deserve to be healed, right? Our pure and sinless life of devotion to God should be returned with a clean bill of health, right? Weeellll, okay, so maybe we haven’t been completely pure and sinless.
Let’s be honest.
My mind wanders back to the time as a teenager I bunched up my blanket to look like a sleeping person under the comforter on my bed and snuck out of my window to go mess around with my boyfriend.
Or the time years ago when I wasn’t honest about the number of hours I had actually worked. Or when I didn’t fess up to denting someone’s car.
Or last week when I lost my patience and totally freaked out, yelling at my son for accidentally splattering orange fabric dye on my bathroom wall…
Okay, so maybe if I’m really honest, there’s not much purity and a whole lot of sinfulness. I have a feeling you might come to the same conclusion after a glance back over your life.
But thank God for grace! Grace that covers our sin through the blood of Jesus! Otherwise, if it was about what we DESERVE, we should have all been struck by lightning the first time our little toddler mouths retorted, “No!”
But why this? Why me? Why now?
If we delve down really deep, peeling away layer after layer of emotion, of irritation, frustration, anger, what do you think we find at the bottom?
Anger is actually a secondary emotion. There are two primary emotions that drive anger: hurt and fear. In this case, I believe the primary emotion is fear. We are afraid of what will happen to us. Afraid of the physical pain we will experience. Afraid for our family and the emotional pain they could experience. Afraid to die.
Your anger is normal. Your fear is normal. I felt it. I’m guessing we all feel it when we’re in the middle of a crisis.
But it’s what you do with your anger that will shape this journey for you.
Don’t stuff it. Anger doesn’t like to be stuffed. In fact, it rebels. Like an empty plastic bottle pushed down to the bottom of a sink of water, it keeps popping back up. And more often than not, it pops out sideways, smacking the people we love with hurtful words.
So feel what you need to feel. And face it head-on. Dive down deep to see what is under your anger, and ask God your hardest questions. God is a really big God. So big that our anger doesn’t scare Him. Tell Him how you feel. He already knows anyway.
And when you are exhausted from pounding your fists into His chest, you will find His arms are wrapped around you, loving you unconditionally, even in your anger.
Lord, I’m mad. Mad this is happening and I can’t stop it. And for some reason, You aren’t stopping it. Thank You that You are big enough to handle my anger, and that You love me in the midst of it. You know I’m really just afraid. Afraid for my family, for my future, for my family’s future. You promise that if I trust in You with all my heart and don’t lean on my own understanding, You will direct my paths. I want to trust You. Please give me the courage and the faith to trust You more. Amen.