When I'm angry at someone, I like to run — literally. Running clears my head and if I can physically move away from the person I'm mad at, it seems to help. This didn't work so well in marriage. If Andrew makes me mad, I like to leave — the room, the house, the street. But he doesn't let me. He'll follow me into the other room, stop me from putting my shoes on, make me talk to him. Though I'm glad he does it, I don't like that he does.
Last week, I was mad at God. I ran away from it by not thinking about it, not writing it down. I had to stop running and start writing. Last week, I was mad at God because of something I read in the Bible — something I hated. Ezekiel 24:16-27 is the passage. "Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke. Yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down." Verse 19 then says, "So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died." We find out God does this to Ezekiel so that he can be a sign to the Israelites.
So the question (and anger) stems from once again learning about what I initially see as a character flaw in my flawless God. And what stems from that are questions of my own identity because if I call myself a Christian — which I do — I am ascribing myself to the Trinity, the 3-in-1, the Father, the Spirit, the Son. And I must reconcile in this moment other scripture, like Hebrews 13:8, that says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. I'm reminded of the very real reality that not only does God allow suffering, sometimes he creates it for His glory. (We can talk reformed theology another time). So Ezekiel's wife was taken from him by God for God to be glorified.
About two weeks ago, I started heavily contemplating my purpose right now in this stage of life. It resulted in my laying down my selfish "delights" before the Lord. (Step down a notch from beloved people like in Ezekiel's case, and move into beloved aspirations in my case). One of the biggest aspirations I have is to publish my writing in some form, preferably in several. There is, additionally, an ongoing list in my head of talents I feel the Lord has given me. That list somewhat guides me as I try to figure out what each phase of life is all about. These are the things I delight in — and things others delight in me doing. But I am currently doing none of them. I stand at a radial crossroads that looks more like an asterisk than the letter T. Obedience, contentment, abundant life, providing for family needs, and all the tension between these seemingly opposing paths, merely have me questioning everything.
In a stroke, God can/has/will take the delight of my eyes if He so desires, and if he were to do so again, it wouldn't go against his character. Do I believe he wants to give me the desires of my heart? Do I believe he can be glorified in both the suffering caused by (general) sin in the world, AND by the suffering he inflicts upon me? Can I reconcile my ideas of righteousness and justice with the biblical definitions of those words? Can I continue to call myself a follower of a God that is not highly concerned with my happiness but takes pleasure in seeing me joyous in the trials of life? Joyous in the striving? After all, he chose to call his people by the name of strivers, and not by any other name. (The name Israel means to strive.)
Can I lay aside my running shoes and dialogue with the Master of the Universe when my sincere desire is to run? Could I be like Ezekiel and not shed a tear when he strikes my delight(s) from my life? Can I be angry without sinning? Can I wrestle Him without being bruised or needing a hip replacement? Or a name change?
Can I rip my heart and not my calling (thanks Teri Furr) if it turns out He's calling me to a different delight than I think he should call me to? Because ultimately, each Christian's highest calling is simply (but-oh-so-profoundly) one of obedience. Ezekiel's higher calling in that moment was not to mourn the loss of his loved one. Period. Though I'm still trying to understand/reconcile/imitate? the character of God, I know this for sure — When my ultimate delight is to bring delight to Him, I will both be a delight and be delighted in even when all the other delights of my eyes are stricken from me. That may sound pretty, but oftentimes it's an ugly reality for this very selfish heart.