Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't Stay Mad, Start Praying!

"Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God...and prayed..."
(Ezra 9:5).

It is so easy a temptation to give into boiling anger, frustration, and hurt when people you pour yourselves out for "just don't seem to get it."  You've tried everything you know.  You've bent over backwards.  You've gone the extra mile, and sometimes, the extra mile upon the extra mile!  At times it feels that nothing you seem to do is making any difference, and that all of your effort, your heart, and you passion has been rejected.  And you get mad.  You get mad at them for not listening.  You get mad yourself for not doing enough, or perhaps for doing too much.  And, how many time do you allow your emotions to direct your next efforts to complaining and giving in to an angry, negative mindset that is nothing more than a venomous trap that keeps you bound up from experiencing the joy and the blessings of God?

Ezra, too, had experienced much of the same thing.  He had heard disturbing reports about the sin of the people.  In spite of all that God had done in them, for them, and even in spite of them, they had persisted in their disobedience.  They continued to marry across the lines that had been permitted by the Law of God.  More than a matter of race, it was a matter of intertwining their passion for the One True God and their lusts for those who followed other "gods."

The emotion that Ezra inevitably encountered upon this news moved him to brokenness and to cry out to God for intervention.  He didn't just get angry.  He allowed his anger to motivated him to reach out to God for his people and for his nation.  He resisted the temptation to resort to name-calling, temper-tantrums, and "cut and run."  He fell on his knees, spread himself out, and cried out to God.

It is easy, too easy, to get mad when you see people living in contradiction to what you know is best, or at least better, for their lives.  It can become very angering whey you know that they know, but that they are choosing to live out of alignment with the will of God for their lives.  But, how much time do you spend staying mad?  Complaining?  Becoming bitter?  Rather, how much time do you spend really crying out for them in brokenness?  Not just a prayer, but really crying out, and regardless of whether or not you see any change?  Challenge yourself today to commit to crying out to God for those in your life, relationships, families, your job, your nation, your leaders.  God's intervention will always be more beneficial than our anger!

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