Today I am feeling a little tired and out of sorts after a couple of very busy days. As I began to work on various tasks that need to be completed I realized I had not done my morning devotional and that it was something I probably really needed to help me do my best today. Instead of settling my soul however the scriptures I read stirred questions and tension within me. And that is actually just what I needed.
So often we go to God looking for peace, for rest for our weary, busy souls. And so often God provides that hope and the good news of love and grace in the words of scripture and in our experiences of worship. Yet sometimes what we need is to be stirred up, to be challenged from our complacency.
The scripture I read from Revelation is about angels pouring out bowls of the wrath of God on the earth and then awful stuff happens like water turning to blood and people getting painful sores. And then the heavens rejoice. Sometimes as I read the news and feel the fear of the brokenness of my own heart it seems like the chaos and pain of revelation is here, now. And to think that heaven is rejoicing at our misfortune is so at odds with who I know God to be in my life. What reading this scripture does is force me to engage with theologies I’m uncomfortable with. As I’ve learned from therapy, avoiding the negative feelings actually just makes them worse. So after reading the scriptures today I spent some time thinking about the images of judgement and punishment and why They bother me to much. Then I went online and read some of the news stories that I had been avoiding, like about Al Franken committing sexual misconduct. Once I read these stories, I could make sense in a way of my feelings of disappointment, fear, and anger. Avoiding them was a huge part of my unsettled feeling.
I don’t have the answers about Revelation or our broken world, but what I do have is a commitment to be engaged in the hard stuff and not to avoid it just because I’d rather have a quite respite so I can get back to being busy. Instead of getting the things on my list crossed off this morning I’ve spent time with where God is in my life at this moment and as painful and messy as that is, it might be the most important thing of all.