Monday, March 1, 2010

Anger

Someone asked me how I was doing recently.

I could only say, "it hurts"

But I suppose that's only partially true. I've been hurt before: receiving harsh words, physical bodily damage, destructive self talk, and the like. These things hurt.

Yet, this feels different.

This feels like a collision between deep love and deep anger.

Is there a word for how I feel?

Like many people who've contacted me, emailed, posted on facebook and posted on our blog about what Jaime meant to them...Like many of you...God used Jaime, for many years, to shape my life as a follower of Jesus, husband and pastor. I love him for that.

But, I'm also deeply angry at him and at the broken world we live in. There are a lot of things I'd like to write...but I'll refrain.

What do you get when love and anger collide?

God must understand. Right? Through the prophet Hosea he says, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me" (Hos. 11:1-2).

Maybe the word is....

LAMENT

Eugene Peterson writes:
Suffering is a huge, unavoidable element in the human condition. To be human is to suffer. No one gets an exemption...

and in his introduction to the book of Lamentations, he writes:

Neither explaining suffering nor offering a program for the elimination of suffering, Lamentations keeps company with the extensive Biblical witness that gives dignity to suffering by insisting that God enters our suffering and is companion to our suffering.

So I turn to the Lament recorded in the book of Lamentations

3:19-21I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.

25-27God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

31-33Why? Because the Master won't ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
in throwing roadblocks in the way:

So when my love and anger collide....

I choose to lament.
Allowing God to hold suffering and hope inside me.

Peterson writes, “Lament isn’t an animal wail, an inarticulate howl...Lament notices and attends…details, images, relationships. Pain entered into, accepted, and owned can become poetry.”

So I choose to Lament.
Asking God to write Psalms inside me.

14 comments:

Vanessa Smith said...

I love your knowledge of scripture and your ability to recall it. Struggling with depression is a deep, lonely struggle and can only truly be understood if your have had the misfortune of having walked through it yourself. This passage does an amazing job of fleshing out the back and forth struggle of hope and pain. I will keep it in my go to arsenal for when I am struggling. Thank you for being so open and willing to share as you personally walk through this grief.

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Thanks for the comment Vanessa.

Kimberly Reed said...

What an awesome, articulate expression of your grief including the Lamentations scripture. So many of us share that same struggle in trying to understand. I have enjoyed keeping track of you and your beautiful new family on this blog and am blessed by the way you are being used by God. Maybe now more than ever.

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Thanks Kimberly,

That means a lot.

Together we grieve...

joe

Donald Norman said...

I had lunch with Jameson yesterday and he asked me if I am angry at Jamie or at God.

I've been too overwhelmed to be angry...yet.

I may never get there. But if and when I do, I will hold to your thoughts here, thoughts that exude Jamie's influence, to aide me in my walk down that path.

If you haven't already I would urge you to listen to Chris Edrman's sermon from this past Sunday.

He is the pastor at University Pres. in Fresno and was one of Jamie's closest friends.

http://www.upcfresno.org/sermons

His are healing words, not that they make whole, but they help...

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Thanks Donald.

I did have a chance to listen to his sermon. It was healing...

Thanks for recommending it again...I think on my next blog I'm gonna link it so others can be sure to listen to it.

Glad you met with Jameson...he's a good man.

peace brotha...

Joe

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe,
You don't know me, but I am an old friend of Jamie's. THANK YOU for giving such thoughtful and heartfelt articulation to something that many, many of us are going through in the wake of his death. I cannot thank you enough. I hardly have the wherewithal to speak of how this impacts me, hourly right now, and so I thank you for giving such beautiful words to your process...and others'.
May the Lord be close to you and yours as you walk through these waters!
Bless you, bless you.

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for posting. Your words mean a lot to me. I sometimes wonder who reads this blog...I do it mostly to force myself to reflect and record my heart, as I am a man who easily forgets. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone in these words....

Thanks.

Christian Taylor said...

Dear Joe,

I give you my deepest thanks. I, too, am an old friend of Jamie and Kristy's, Louis and Coke's, Dan and Terri's. Louis was my pastor at National Pres. in DC and Terri and Kristy were two of my closest friends. I have not seen any of the Evans in years, though we keep in touch by yearly letters and FB. When I heard this news, however, my heart felt as if I had been with them all just last week, that perhaps I had, not long ago, just been sitting in their apartment in St. Albans on a sunny spring day and that they were all as near and dear as ever.

My heart, too, is deeply broken and confused and I keep trying to get my mind and heart to accept this new and unfathomable reality. I don't think it will ever be possible. I would be happy if I could merely get it to stop guessing and wondering about every possible detail... oh the endless questions and ponderings!

Your public grieving and wrestling has been so helpful. I know it isn't easy but it has been a healing balm to my own heart and helps me focus on the author of all life and the victor over every death. So... for that ministry of anguish and tears, I thank you.

Let's continue to cry, pray and support one another as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death. Christ IS the victor and he has snatched us all from the grave... praise be to Him!

joseph.david.white@gmail.com said...

Christian,

Thanks for the good word sir.

together we grieve...

longing for the kingdom to come in all it's fullness...

Joe

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