The sound of loud wailing pierced the otherwise lazy afternoon atmosphere in front of the hospital casualty, the moment I broke the news. A shocked father, wondering what he’d tell his wife when he got home, the loud thuds from the older women in the family beating their chest like it was a piece of wood or something, and the distraught security guards trying to arrange an ambulance to carry the lifeless body of the child back home. I sighed. This was the second time in 48 hours that I’d looked into the eyes of a parent desperately searching mine for some news of hope, and I’d had to say that there wasn’t any left. Both were young , one seven years old, another fifteen; both could have been helped, had their folks known earlier that hospitals were still functioning despite the lockdown . One fought for sometime in the hospital, the other gave up just before he was brought to the casualty.
As I walked back from the hospital , emotionally drained, the mid noon sun beating down on my head, the faces of the pleading parents flashing before my eyes, I couldn’t resist the rising frustration within me- why hadn’t they brought them in earlier? Why hadn’t they followed up with us? Who told them we weren’t available? The battle in my mind raged on, now turning focus at the general state of affairs in the country wherein in the fight against the novel coronavirus, the cure seems worse than the disease itself.
Frustration. Is an old enemy. But he seems to be closer these days. Not just for me. For any human being on this planet during these times. Frustrated at having to stay indoors the whole time, frustrated that the virus continues to spread and there’s no obvious solution in sight, frustrated with administrations, with governments,with leaders we elected into being, with the weighing scales that show us bigger numbers, with the uncertainties looming large in our lives, with having to wear those impossible protective suits and masks at work, and so on.
I do not deny that this has been a season of Frustration.
But like I said, this guy is an enemy. He’s not a friend. He doesn’t help us, doesn’t encourage us, doesn’t build us. Instead he eats us, from within, makes us want more of him and in the process, trade our joy.
Today we’re frustrated at the government and the way things have been handled, yesterday we were frustrated with our spouses, our lives, our colleagues at work and tomorrow when all of this is over or maybe never, we’ll find new reasons to be frustrated about. This guy can stick closer than you’d want him to and you wouldn’t even know.
And it took me a little knock on the head from a portion of Scripture I read the other day, to let it dawn on me that I’d given this guy a throne in my house. He was no longer a visitor, but I’d let him stay and how! I was trading bits and pieces of the joy I had in the Lord, to this emotion that was eating into me. ( Why can’t it be a ‘she’- your tangential thoughts might ask. I say – Suit yourself).
What was in that Scripture that I read? ( Pick up your Bible and read through the letter to the Philippians). It was a letter from a man named Paul, who was in a Roman prison, in chains, for no wrong he’d done, to his friends, telling them how he always prayed with joy and how to rejoice always and continue to bear fruit and asking them to REJOICE! Well for starters anyone would’ve thought he was bonkers, that prison life had started taking it’s toll on him, but God in His great mercy opened my eyes to see now what Paul saw then.
Yes, the world around me is far from perfect, yes we live in very difficult times, insecure and uncertain times. Yes, it brings our blood to boiling point temperatures when we watch the news or even look around us. Death, uncertainty and poverty have never been more real. So has the realisation of how the lust for power and money can turn people’s hearts to stone.Yes.
But yes, we also have set our hope in a God who gave His life for us, defeated death and sin on the Cross and who promises us eternal life and Joy- something the enemy cannot take away. Death need not surprise us because each one of our days were written in His book even before one of them came to be. We can rest every single moment in the arms of this God who tells us He’s got this.
So what I did the other day, was take that throne I’d given the enemy in my house right out to the dustbin, ask for forgiveness from the Giver of life, and decide to take the magnifying glass with which I was looking at all the hocus-pocus going on around me, to focus it on the One who’s got this. And bear fruit in whatever season I’m in, in whichever place I’m in , because I’m drawing my strength from the streams of Living Water. and remember to Rejoice- even in the prison experience.
Dear friend, how frustrated are you this season? Know that there is a place to lay it down. Kick that guy outta the backdoor. Take your eyes off the hocus-pocus…. and focus.
Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace (Turn your eyes, Helen Howarth Lemmel)
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
C. S. Lewis ( The chronicles of Narnia)