Are you bitter?

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The frustration, the disappointment, the apparent lack of options made a person I was meeting with feel boxed in, wondering what to do next. Every choice available had such cost – come, go, stay, walk away?  I could empathize!  Dealing with a rebellious teen in my own household at times leaves me overwhelmed, too. Rejection stings. Discipline is rejected. In his eyes, I am the one who has the problem. After all, what’s wrong with playing video games all day and half the night? I can only sigh and hang on for tomorrow. My frustration spills over into complaint sometimes, too. “Where are You, Lord? Why have you given me this assignment, too?”

How wonderful to remember that my spiritual security does not from my grip on His hand, but rather by His grasp of my hand. In the Scripture, I read: “I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. … Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand.” (Psalm 73:21, 23, NLT)

John, leader of the churches in Asia Minor, living in Ephesus, was an old man. Rome, cracking down on the Christians, sent him to exile on a little rocky island called Patmos.  How could that old preacher not feel forsaken? There he was in a cave, alone. Do you imagine that he sulked, whined, and shook his fist at God? You would be wrong. The book of the Revelation opens with this note:  “It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit.” (1:10). As he prayed, John received those wildly wonderful pictures of God’s ultimate triumph over Evil that we read in that book! His submission God allowed him to enter into a place of supernatural renewal.

Could he have known the comfort of the touch of the Lord if he wrapped himself in a stinking blanket of bitterness stained with his disappointment with God? I think the answer to that question is obvious. Before you jump to the conclusion that to be frustrated by life is somehow a sin or a lack of faith, let me hasten to add that I find no place in the Bible that tells us that we cannot weep. Even those of deep faith sometimes walk in the dark, unable to see what is ahead, their tomorrows hidden by the fog of frustration. Yes, sometimes our tears flow equally from sorrow and anger in those moments.

In those days when the soul-ache is deep, when words turn into heavy sighs, we still have a choice to make: we can become bitter or we can become broken. A bitter man blames God and cuts himself off from the touch of the Father’s hand. A broken man kneels in humble worship. David sings that broken hearts are open to God’s healing. “I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” (Psalm 51:17, The Message)

Are you feeling the pressures of life today?
Does it seem that God has turned away?

Choose to wait, humbly, for Him. When tempted by bitterness, reject it. Instead, let your heart break.  I pray that the Spirit will find you with His tender, comforting touch.

Our word from the Word comes from a favorite Psalm. Note the lead words of each thought that call to reliance on the Lord.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

(Psalm 37:3-9, NIV)|
_____________________

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly Thine
Let me feel the Holy Spirit
Truly know that Thou art mine

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter © Words: Public Domain

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