Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sadness, Anger and the Almighty

“Those who sow in tears

will reap with songs of joy.”

~Psalm 126:5 (NIV).

Some people search high and low for the purist knowledge of the heart of God—to experience it personally. They’re the most fervent seekers. And every true believer wants this, surely. They want the outcome. So, why do we miss out?

God wants us to feel as he feels. Yet, we struggle with that on all sorts of levels. One of the most obvious levels we struggle with it is in our sinful pride. (It’s enough to illustrate.) We can’t even get off the batter’s plate and on our way to first base because we can’t genuinely feel how God feels for his world and his people—his perfect holiness excludes us from entering in; in that state.

Getting further down into the problem there’s a more acute issue we all must face. That is our own primary emotions. These are the very things we’ve skilfully learned to repress. We’d swap sadness for anger any day of the week, unless that is, if sadness was forced upon us. Yet, the pure primary emotion i.e. sadness is a necessary pre-requisite to truly entering God’s Presence.

Enter the miracle. Anyone who’s experienced genuinely raw sadness—with the Presence of God—has already experienced the wonderfully calming emotion necessary for healing. The lesson we learn is such transparency before God finds his all-encompassing embrace; even in repudiating sadness God’s Presence is a majestically captivating thing. This is the first and most important hint in feeling as God feels—to connect with him.

This sadness is not self-pity. This sadness is a one hundred percent “accepting” sorrow poured out as a sacrifice to God. This is surely the experience of the psalmist, sowing in tears, yet reaping joy!

The trouble is we reject sadness because it pains us. The prize that we get, however, is an angry heart—the caustic secondary emotion. We swap something holy for something evil because it requires a lot of courage from us to handle the holy thing. We flinch at it by default.

Sadness is holy. It goes with God. It’s real to life as God is real to life.

Anger interrupts the sadness; it forces and cajoles the sadness, abusing it, pushing it ever away. Anger is sickened to the back teeth by sadness. Anger gives us the feeling we’re in control—able to take charge—when in fact it’s a base weakness because anger’s actually a very difficult thing to control. Who amongst us has ever harnessed their anger on a consistent basis?

Yet, sadness—true pure sadness that’s experienced with God—is healing. To feel sadness at will (and when it’s with God it’s suddenly a highly desirable thing) is a self-mastery at the highest emotional and spiritual percentile; Mensa-level spiritual intelligence quotient.

Tears sown in pure sadness have a holy and necessary surrender about them. Surrender is crucial. It’s another pre-requisite in experiencing God’s Presence.

And yet, we have another challenge. This time it’s one that the world casts at us. To feel this pure sadness in the face of a macho, mocking world requires a moral courage of the finest order; a true faith where God truly resides on the pedestal of the heart.

Strangely these days we don’t just find machoism in men; it is women too who’ll bark, ‘Toughen up, Princess!’ No wonder these so-called ‘tough people’ have anger management problems. What toughen-up-princess-person would have the strength to face such opposition? No, they’ll be much happier found safely tucked away in their “tough” click groups thank you very much!

The trouble for “tough” people, in the midst of people experiencing pure sadness, is they’re all of a sudden forced to face up to their own emotions—their own indelible sadness’s that haunt—the truths that are always being denied. With that discomfort comes the easier, safer option to scowl-down the person having the pure sadness and call them a “princess.” But who’s the real princess? Their anger has the better of them and this creates a world of serious problems that I shan’t go into here.

So, what’s all this got to do with feeling the heart of God? Now we get to the point.

If we can feel our own genuine sadness’s with God, then perhaps we’ll also feel the gentle tug of the Almighty regarding the plight of other people and their genuine sadness’s; individuals, situations and the world at large. When the penny drops—even for a moment—God’s light blinds us and the outcome is the rampant mobbing of tears and a blubbering empathy unfolds. That’s got to be the heart of God; feeling as he does; an antecedent for motivated action; faith producing good works. And this place doesn’t have limits. There are unlimited sadness’s that God seeks to share with us. We are, after all, his only instruments for the time being. And to this we add, the heart of God is infinite.

We intercede for our family, friends and neighbours, co-workers, and people in war-torn and natural disaster areas. We have authentic tears of sadness for the plight they’re in. It’s an overwhelming and true burden for others we need.

(I have to admit that it is a struggle to genuinely and authentically intercede like this, continually. The heart of God is a sacred place only those with holy hearts—in the moment—can enter. All too often, I say sadly, my heart’s not holy enough—not urgent enough for the needs of others. But now I have a model that he’s given me!)

It’s a gross world we live in, ripping itself apart in fits of anger. But, there’s also an opposite reality of the people of God; the peacemakers, the empathisers, champions and advocates—assisting those poor of spirit. These too are saddened to their own spiritual deaths at the prideful fear of those wilfully out-of-control, wreaking havoc, and destroying lives—including their own.

Sadness, anger and the Almighty: anger, the erroneous default; sadness, the key that unlocks the door. But sadness is only the start; but a healing start at that! Once there we go on to intercede from the very heart of the Almighty.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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