Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Psalm 32:6-11 (NRSV)
Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.
Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
The phrase the rush of mighty waters has taken on new meaning for many people this spring as many places in the southern United States have been ravished by flood waters due to lingering heavy rains. Sometimes though, the rising water itself is less damaging than the debris that is in the water—the felled trees, the muck and mud, the broken boards and trash that are swept along in the rising water, battering homes and shore lines, and left behind when the water recedes.
Having a temper is not necessarily a bad thing. We have good, even righteous, reasons to get angry about some things. Temper becomes a problem when it rises quickly, overflows our rational thinking, and starts collecting and depositing the muck and mire of life where it doesn’t belong.
One time my husband and I had to make a trip to our local bank. While there, I wanted to ask about getting my niece a U.S. savings bond. The person at that branch who knew about savings bonds was out to lunch. I was frustrated and my voice rose a little when I asked, “You mean no one else in this bank can sell me a savings bond?” I didn’t get ugly, but my husband thought I was going to throw a fit. So, he just turned around and walked out of the bank, leaving me standing there. I took a deep breath and followed him out. When we were both in the car, he said he wasn’t going to stand around and watch while I embarrassed myself. I knew he also meant while I embarrassed him.
When my temper rises, I often think of that incident. Not only do I think about how I could embarrass myself or Kenny, but I think about how my harsh words or rash actions could reflect on my God.
Life is so much easier and more pleasant when you don’t leave trash in your wake. Take moment to thank God for delivering you from your own sin and self-destruction.
Lord of peace and justice, help us to live so that our actions are pleasing to you, and so that we are not ashamed of who we are. Bring calm to our spirits so that the world is able to look to us as your examples in times of distress. Release us from our stubbornness, which only serves to keep us swirling in chaos. Help us to live out your peace in our everyday lives. Amen.
Go with God.