Who are you texting? …God.
Today I woke at 7 am., grabbed a cup of coffee and started in on my daily Bible reading. The passage was 2 Corinthians 12. Erin plopped down next to me as I was reflecting on what I had just read.
Paraphrasing verses 7-9…”I was given a thorn in my flesh. It torments me and keeps me from becoming proud. I begged the Lord to take it away and he said ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'”
These words leapt off the page and spoke to me in a very personal way.
I use the Bible app on my phone and I was sharing my highlights with Erin and how you can comment on passages. Being a social creature and lover of all things social media, she wanted to know who I was commenting too. Sarcastically, I said..God.
We chuckled. I realized that spending time in the Bible and making notes about how it speaks to you, is sort of like texting with God. You read a message in a Bible passage, you reflect on it, and you write down what you heard or even ask a question back and then you wait. The little floating dots come up, is God gonna write back? It looks like it. Then it stops. Then no message. Then ding. God writes back.
It’s a dialog…sometimes slow, sometimes immediate. Today was immediate….
I’m just imagining the snap chat filters that God might use. Would he be a honey bee? The old grandpa with the hat? I don’t know.
Anyway, we have had a tough start to the school year. Tears, frustrations and anger. I have raised my voice more than I would like to admit.
I’ve turned to prayer for help and my prayers have sounded like this “God take this anger and frustration away from my children and me. Anger is not welcome here.”. God didn’t seem to answer, the frustrations continue.
Tears happen daily. It’s exhausting as a parent. My energy and patience get depleted quickly and anger wells up in me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I can sense the words coming. I know I shouldn’t speak, but the urge is too great. The pressure has to be relieved. Then it spills out…
STOP IT! ENOUGH!
…for a moment..the yelling…it’s comforting…then the guilt sets in. I feel horrible. I can see my daughter’s spirit crushed as my anger falls over her.
There has to be a better way. This morning, I found it.
There it was, right there in front of me, God texted back 2 Corinthians 12, 7-9. The anger I have. My weakness. God has grace for it. His power right there waiting for me.
The thorn in my side…homework frustration, failed expectations, tears, anger. God doesn’t want to take it away from me. He wants me to lean on him for patience for compassion for understanding.
You see, praying for anger to be removed is valid, but the “how” is what I’ve missed. Instead of praying for anger to be removed, I should be praying for patience. God’s patience. Here’s what I learned:
The opposite of what troubles me is where God wants to speak to me.
That thorn is there for a reason and it’s going to stay there until I change.
So today, I lean into my weakness. I listen when I want to speak. I hug when I want to point my finger.
I challenge you to look at the things that consistently plague you and frustrate you . Do you get mad at your kids? Why? Does your neighbor drive you crazy? Is you boss consistently a jerk? How do you want to respond in those situations?
Reflect on that for a minute.
Now, what’s the opposite of that? Maybe that’s the very thing God wants to develop in you at this moment. Text God about it. He’s pretty good at texting back.