I hate it when my sleep gets interrupted.
I have some neighbors that get on my nerves. They frequently leave their dog out on their back porch all night in a cage. He’s not happy to be there and lets the world know it by barking continuously to the wee hours of the morning.
Last week I found myself more irritated than usual because this same family decided to set off VERY LARGE fireworks above the houses on our block. It wasn’t the 4th of July, it was late, and it wasn’t safe. Fireworks that large should be set off over a lake, and I let them know that in no uncertain terms. I also went on to tell them about the time my cousin’s husband lost his eye shooting fireworks, and the time a car on our block exploded from a firework landing in it. I was frustrated and angry — my little speech made that perfectly clear.
Needless to say, I did not handle the situation well. Somehow I can’t picture Jesus talking to my neighbors with the same vehemence I did.
The days following my little outburst God reminded me of the cure for anger and frustration. It’s found Acts 16: 22-31. Here we read about Paul and Silas. If any two men had reasons to be frustrated and angry, they did. They were unfairly accused, stripped, beaten, severely flogged, thrown into prison, and had their feet put in stocks. Besides feeling sore from head to toe and feeling the injustice of being falsely accused, it must have been terribly uncomfortable trying to sleep with their feet stuck for hours in the same stiff position.
Yet, they didn’t sit in their cell complaining to each other or to the other prisoners. They didn’t yell out in anger. They didn’t argue with the jailer and demand their rights. The Bible says that despite all they went through that day, they were “praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (vs 25)
God revealed to them the cure for anger and frustration — prayer and praise.
I have found that when I begin to worship God, sing to Him, and praise Him for all He is and all that He’s done for me, it is very difficult to hold on to my anger at the same time. God melts the anger away, replacing it with an inner joy that only He can give. And, just as in the case of Paul and Silas, where the other prisoners were listening to them (vs 25), when I praise God out loud my children hear and may be moved to praise Him as well.
How Paul and Silas handled the events of the day spoke volumes to the jailer. He called for lights, rushed in, fell trembling before them, and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” (vs 31)
How I handle the little things that come my way each day speaks volumes to my children. If I can praise God through the rough days, or repent when I’ve failed miserably, hopefully my life will point my children to the Savior of their souls.
Child of God are you feeling frustrated or angry? Are you upset with the people around you? Your children? Your husband? May God remind you of His great love for you, and how he’s cared for you and your family in times of need. As you praise the God who created you, may he melt away your anger and frustration and fill you with the inner joy only He can give. May He fill you with His peace as well.
James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”
Psalm 30:5 “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Copyright July 11, 2012 by Gwen Fredette