I am thankful for a God who’s love is big enough for my anger. Let me explain.
Recently Méav, our 2 year old, got angry with me & took a swing at me. The problem was, she connected with the chair I was sitting in before ever getting to me–and it hurt. She burst into tears immediately and then looked at me with those tear-filled eyes for sympathy and relief. For a moment, a brief moment, I thought about saying, “I told you not to hit me; that’s what you get.” But I didn’t.
Thank God, I didn’t.
Instead, I picked her up. And as she buried her head in that place between my neck & my shoulder, I realized this is what God does with me, and my anger and retaliation . . . all the time.
Oh, it doesn’t mean that there is never a consequence for my actions. But it does mean, that God is
merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).
Now, Exodus isn’t a book I normally would go to in thinking of the Lord’s compassion & sympathy. It’s in the Old Testament after all. Isn’t that where God struck people down all the time? Well no, not really. Why wouldn’t I turn to Exodus? It’s the extended story of how God remembers His promise to His children, rescues them from the mistreatment and abuse of a fearful dictator, and provides for them through miraculous means . . . all in spite of their own faithfulness to Him.
Israel still faced consequences for their failures and anger; they faced disease as a result of their own sin and spent 40 years wandering seemingly needlessly through the desert. But God was faithful.
Meav still had to deal with a throbbing hand & being told that she isn’t to respond to daddy by swinging.
And I still have to learn that if I choose to disobey, ultimately I’m not choosing joy, but misery. And if I resort to retaliating against God and His commands, I’m choosing solitude rather than security through intimacy with Him.
No, we still have to deal with the natural consequences for choosing poorly. But God is still there, faithful and patient and loving. Longing to hold us and forgive us.