Monday, October 10, 2011

Wrestling With God (Part One - The Setup)

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. ~ Genesis 32:24

There was an explosion at our house last night.  No, it wasn't our hot water heater or our microwave and sadly, it wasn't our TV either, so no one was physically injured.  It was an explosion of family dynamics and to be sure, there was some emotional damage inflicted. Once again, my Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Teenbots pulled out their boxing gloves and commenced to fighting over who was going to watch what on television (hence, my disappointment that the TV hadn't exploded, which would have stopped this battle before it even began).  Naturally, I was called into the room to referee and to play the role of King Solomon, choosing which offspring would be in control of the remote control. Things got ugly rather quickly and my husband, who was watching TV in our bedroom, came downstairs and stepped out into the ring, too.  Everybody was throwing verbal punches by then (with the hardest hitter being yours truly) and finally, we all stormed off to our respective corners, angrily licking our wounds. There were no winners in that round.

I admit to having an extremely short fuse, as well as an inability to let go of things easily, and I'm neither proud nor happy to report that I spent the remainder of the evening slamming doors and cabinets, banging pots, pans and dishes, and muttering indistinguishable words and phrases (a la` the dad in 'A Christmas Story') as I stomped around the kitchen.  I even threw a few small items around the table in the hopes it would make me feel better (it didn't).  Again, I'm not proud nor happy to reveal this.  Not painting a very Christ-like image of myself here, am I?

After tersely bidding my son and daughter good night, with a harsh reminder that they HAD BETTER fold ALL of their laundry that was piled on the love seat before they went to bed, I pounded up the stairs and flopped onto the bed.  I put my earbuds in and turned the music way up on my iPod,  hoping my husband would be able to tell that I was NOT a happy camper as he watched some James Bond movie.  And no, dear ones -- I'm ashamed to admit that no 'I'm sorrys' were exchanged, and I brushed away the verse from Ephesians 4 that, like some pesky mosquito, kept buzzing around my head. You know the one - about not letting the sun go down on your anger?  Yeah, THAT one. And boy, was I angry.

First, I chose some of the louder, edgier, non-secular tunes I've downloaded over the years (rest assured, there's nothing awful that should come with warning labels), as I lay with my arms folded across my chest, like some bratty, spoiled child.  But then, for some reason, as I scrolled through my playlists, I decided to listen to some music from Owl City.  For those who may not know, Owl City is not a band, but actually one extremely talented young man, Adam Young, and his music is very infectious, bouncy, fun technopop(Wikipedia describes it as 'synthpop' or 'dreampop'), yet strangely comforting and encouraging.  But maybe not so strangely, because Adam Young, as I learned last year, is a follower of Christ, although his music isn't be labeled as 'Christian.'  Adam's lyrics are sweet, simple and sincere, with some finely honed humor and irony interspersed throughout. He's a true wordsmith, weaving beautiful tapestries about the daily adventures of life and love (mostly of the romantic kind) through his use of metaphors and allegories. But -- if you listen closely, you'll hear his heart for the Lord woven into many of his song's lyrics.

The lyrics to one song in particular last night stopped me dead in my still angry tracks.  It's called 'Meteor Shower:'

'I can finally see
That you're right there beside me;
I am not my own,
For I have been made new;
Please don't let me go
I desperately need you.'

That's the whole entire song. Simple, sweet and sincere.  I swear I don't remember hearing these words before in this song, but believe me, I caught them last night.  And I started to cry.

Because from the moment I flew up my stairs, I knew darn right well that the Lord was waving all kinds of red flags in front of me, trying to pull me out of my angry, childish state and get my focus back on Him, to calm me down and to learn a much needed lesson.  But I kept telling myself that I didn't want to hear it or to deal with Him or my stupid self, so I foolishly tried to plug up my ears and drown out His still, small voice with some loud music.  But as the Lord God told the young prophet, Jeremiah, "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)  No matter what I do, no matter how far I run or how hard I try to hide from Him, He will always find me and find a way to get through to me.  

And so, through a simple song, the Lord had my attention once again.  And He kept it -- all night long.  Not surprisingly, I could not sleep at all. Not a wink. I tossed and turned -- angry, broken, convicted, remorseful, uncomfortable, desperate for peace. I even went downstairs and outside for a time, gazing up at the moon and the star-filled sky. Like Jacob, I was up all night, wrestling with God.

More about the lesson in my next post. I hope you'll stop by to read it.

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