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“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered me by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper, I will look in triumph on my enemies.”
What can man do to us? Too much. We treat one another with disdain. We disregard each other’s identity, and we reject one another over differences that we have no control over like race, gender, age, career or finances.
I’ve cried out to the Lord in anguish because of the heart wounds inflicted by people. I’ve been more aware of my fear of people than I have been of God’s presence because all I hear are voices calling me names.
I’ve worn perfect as a shield so I could keep people, and the pain they cause at a distance. The more we hold people at a distance the more it appears we get burned, but we have two options: we can hold onto a grudge or turn to God.
Holding grudges cause the pain of rejection to hold onto us, and we become hardened, brittle versions of ourselves.
Turning to God releases the offense, and we become strong, yet soft versions of ourselves.
I’m pretty awesome at pasting on a smile while my heart hemorrhages. And I’ve done the whole adult temper tantrum of crying out to God, and then stamping my feet when I don’t feel free. I want freedom, but I want my way too.
But there’s a difference between the anguish over not getting what we want, and the anguish of a broken heart.
In a temper tantrum, we stay stuck on the audacity of not getting our way, whether it’s revenge, or the pain of being looked over, or someone’s hurtful words. A broken heart realizes that the whole of mankind are either sinners saved by grace who are still being made complete in the likeness of God, or they are ruled by a sin-driven, separated-from-God heart.
We’re more likely to be set free when we come to God in the broken hearted state rather than “I demand my way,” anguishing state.
Does insecurity drive you? Then you may overreact to oversight by other people. What about fear? Then you may interpret every new situation as dangerous. Do you struggle with pride? Then you may struggle when you’re not the best.
At the roots of our anguish are the affects of people’s behaviors tugging on our weakest areas. We can find the freedom we so desperately seek when we stop looking at the externals in our lives and look up into God’s face.
Lord Jesus, Thank-you for being with us. But, Jesus? I forget you’re there when all I can see are my enemies and all I feel is my heart bleeding out. I’m gasping for breath, here. Can’t you help?
Why aren’t you helping?
But God, I look to you for healing.
I choose you when I’m tempted to choose something or someone else. I choose to look at your face when I’m distracted by my fears. I choose to remember that you are mighty to save and in the remembering I’m set free.
I remember that you are good, kind, full of light, and have me in the palm of your hand. You set me free, you are with me, what can man do to me?
Because of your presence, I raise my hands in triumph and I run in the paths you’ve set for me. Jesus, I need your help. Come to my rescue and set me free. My foes feel like they’ve overtaken me and I’m gasping for breath, desperate for relief.
You are my refuge and I find my rest in you. You are my strength and I find my joy in you. You are my healer and you set me free.
Thank-you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.