The journey from anger to peace to faith
Lauren was hurt and angry when she went to bed last night. She had a dream that she was in the forest, tromping through sticks, rocks, and tough terrain. She scratches from sticks hurt, and she was angry at the fact that she was in the forest. But, the anger gave her energy to continue. She came to a river. There was a sign that read, “The angry river: Warning: you may not survive crossing.”
“Oh Yeah, little, angry river? Yes, I will!” She yelled. Her voice echoed over the roaring white caps. She knew she could do it. She knew this river was only waist deep anyway; she could walk across it if she stood firm. Besides, she was too hurt and angry NOT to get across and out of this forbidden forest.
She stepped in. The water was colder than she thought it would be. The melted winter ice of the angry river had not warmed up to spring’s temperature yet. The white caps were like biting mouths upon her body. Still, she continued. Her intense anger seemed to help her for a while, but then it began to exhaust her. She was tired of being angry; she was tired of being in the angry river. She was only half way across and she wondered if she would make it to the other side. She would have to continue to fight; she had to survive.
Finally, after all of her energy was spent a few times over, she reached the bank of the other side.
She fell on her face, lying there in utter exhaustion, but in thankfulness that she made it. She felt a peaceful relief fill her. “Thank you, God! - I made it!” she whispered. She wasn’t so angry anymore. She didn’t even want to be angry anymore. She just wanted to find a peaceful trail out of this forest.
Just then, a rabbit hopped to the right of her peripheral vision, and then it disappeared down a pathway. She never would have noticed the pathway had the rabbit not appeared because two overgrown bushes tried to cover its existence. She was thankful that the rabbit revealed it to her. She knew God sent the rabbit to show her the way. Peace that surpassed all understanding (Philippians 4:7) seemed to ooze into the fibers of her cold limbs. She pulled herself up and began to walk towards the pathway. As soon as she stepped upon the path, pushing her way through the overgrown bushes, the most beautiful pathway she had ever seen appeared. It looked like a Thomas Kinkade painting. Light shone down in beams of light through the tall trees. Flowers grew and little, adorable animals scurried to hiding. A butterfly went before her eyes and a deer stopped to stare at her. She continued on - in peace - not anger.
The fear that filled her at the beginning of the journey seemed to evaporate, the anger was so long gone that she wondered if she was ever really mad in the first place? Was it that she was just hurt and scared and she tried to cover it up with anger? The peace she now had seemed to help her think more clearly, less rash, more contemplative, and more peaceful. The noise in her mind and heart wasn’t so loud anymore. She heard a peaceful stream in the distance. In faith, she knew she would find the stream because she could hear it now. She would follow its peaceful sound, and it would lead her out of the forest. She knew that the substance of the things she hoped for would soon become evident. She would walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). She knew that this journey through anger to peace had led her to a hopeful faith - in God.
She heard a loud buzzing in the distance. Was it a fire truck? Was it a police siren? Had they come to rescue her out of this forest? Suddenly, she sat up in bed and awoke to the sound of her alarm clock flashing “6:00″ in bright red.
“Oh, it was just a dream….” she said. As she got out of bed, she remembered that she fell asleep in her sweats and big pink fluffy Warrior Mom robe. As she walked to the kitchen to make coffee, she reached into her pockets, a Goldfish cracker given to her from her 2-year-old son the day before found its way to her fingertips. She laughed. “I think this fish made it out of the angry river too……. “ she said to God. “Help me walk in your peaceful, faithfulness today.”
In summation of this analogy regarding anger, along with the theme of the lesson on peace and faith, I wrote this story to illustrate the difficult journey that we go through when we feel we are in the forest of seemingly unmanageable emotions. I also wanted to highlight the question, “How do you know you are hearing from God?” I want to say that God speaks in many ways. Sometimes He sends someone to say a sentence to us that echoes within our heart and mind for the entire day or week, sometimes He sends a rabbit to bring attention to a path that we may not have otherwise noticed. Sometimes He speaks and when we hear Him, and we think, “Was that me?” In thinking about it for a moment, we know it was God because it was a thought unlike our own. There was a newness, a difference to it; it was spoken from a different perspective, which is how we heard it in the first place. It was different than the thoughts that had been circling within our minds. Ask God to speak to you today in such a way that you know that you know that you know it is God speaking. Just ask Him, and let Him speak to you in a creative way. He can handle the request, and you will know when it happens because doubt will rush into your mind, trying to steal the message away before you accept it. Therefore, when it does happen, in whatever form, don’t dismiss it and apply logic to it. Wait for it and receive His message in faith.
Sometimes, we have to walk through the emotion until we are exhausted from it, and then in our exhaustion, we find a sense of peace. Once we sense God’s peace we are more able to hear Him because we have set our emotion aside as we allow God to begin to calm the chaos within us. Then, our spiritual ears seem to work better and our eyes of faith are more able to see the unseen.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two - one - and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law and its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of 2 thus making peace, and in this 1 body to reconcile them both to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the father by our spirit.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.