broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dealing with Storm Damage - part 4 in the series

Over the past several days we’ve been dealing with the unexpected “life storms” that come our way. Because they usually come in hard and fast and deadly they also, as a general rule, leave behind a path of destruction that we are left to deal with. We learned on day two that we need to give ourselves time to heal and time to assess the damage in the light of day without foolishly plowing ahead without a plan. But then yesterday we also added that it is critical that after we’ve honestly assessed the damage, we need to start to deal with it and do something productive!

Today, as we continue to address this issue of storm damage, we’re going to get more personal than we’ve tried before. There is no question that storms come and that when they come unexpectedly there is produced a profound shock to our system. It often sends us reeling out of control. Our stunned minds feel violated and our broken bodies shudder in sympathetic vibration with the shock wave of trauma that attacked us. No part of us is left unaffected. Every feeling, every relationship, every plan, hope and dream, every expectation is instantly tossed aside like a rag doll in a tornado.

And as soon as we can begin to make sense of it all, that’s when ‘it’ hits us. This overwhelming wave of anger and resentment that starts to permeate the very fiber of our being and then rushes in to assume control of our every thought. Our fist slams into the pillow in a blind rage that threatens our sanity and drives our hatred of this crushing intrusion.

Be honest, now. Hey, you may as well be honest – EVERY person who has had to deal with devastation goes through a period of anger - and if you don’t there really IS reason to call the men in the little white coats. Oh yea, some of you are going to say “Oh, that’s just life and we have to take what we’re given…” and any one of several other mamby pamby psyco-babble answers to life’s toughest questions. But if you have just been through a life storm that has left behind devastation and destruction that you might never, ever, be able to clean up, it is perfectly reasonable to be angry. It is right and proper for you to want to go hit something; to feel this small rage building inside yourself at the unfairness of it all. Come on, it really ISN’T fair, and you really ARE damaged beyond repair, and there’s NO ONE on earth that can fix what’s broken. It’s just plain wrong!

And what’s worse, some of your closest friends are going to get very distant because they don’t know what to say. Your job may be in jeopardy or be gone altogether. Your finances are probably going to take such a hit that may take years or decades to repair. The pain will steal your ability to produce and that’s going to try to destroy your self confidence and self esteem. No, fellow travelers, there’s nothing nice or sweet or joyous about the feelings of utter destruction you feel in your soul, and no amount of pats on the back for doing “so well” is going to change the fact that you’d just like to go smash something into smitherines.

God knows how you feel. He got so angry at mankind’s sin that the first time he destroyed the whole world with a catastrophic flood, save for a few men and women. Then he got so angry with Israel for there sin that he sent them into exile for generations. And finally he got so disgusted with man’s sin that he sent his only Son to the earth and allowed him to pay the ultimate penalty by dieing on a cross. Oh, yea, God knows what angry is.

And he tells us it’s a good thing to go ahead and get mad. Go ahead and lash out at that pillow or the empty room. Go ahead and ask Him the tough questions and even question His existence and his love for us. God is not threatened by our frustrated anger any more than he is caught off guard by our brokenness and the circumstances surrounding it.

But, fellow traveler, we need to keep the whole thing in perspective. While it is quite OK to get angry, it is something entirely different to stay angry, and then to allow the anger to possess and control you. Anger expressed and “let out of the box” is healthy and cleansing. Anger kept and nurtured becomes bitterness - and bitterness left unattended turns to poison – a dangerous life threatening poison that threatens to destroy us more than anyone else.

So go ahead and get angry – and then, with time and attention, get over it and move on. The raw emotion of anger can cleanse your mind and allow you to deal with the complex unfairness you may face for the rest of your life. This is also a great time to allow God to help you through the anger and then on into a healthy, productive life. Prayer is a marvelous way of connecting us to our Creator, and I recommend Him to you without reservation.

Until next time,


Anonymous Terry said...

How true! If people could only get to the place where they can "MOVE ON" sooner! As the wonderful hymn "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" says "Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear." I can certainly identify with that! It took me sooo long to move on. Thanks Dwight for your part in helping me move on. What a blessing your blogs are. Blessings on you brother. I miss you!


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