In the last article I wrote, I described my personal situation with the loss of a loved one and the immediate responses I felt. I ended by mentioning that sometimes we can’t help but feel lost, alone, or even angry. Especially angry. So I’ll deal with that now, since about this time four years ago is when some anger started to set in.
Anger is painful. Often when we are angry with someone, we think that this anger will somehow make us feel better, but as we often experience, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I get angry at a friend, family member, or anyone really, I feel frustration not only at the initial incidence that made me angry, but also I feel frustration festering simply because I AM angry. Anger breeds anger. Thus it is when it comes to this sort of a situation of losing someone close to you.
I spent a lot of time being angry. I was angry that God decided that I no longer needed my dad. What kind of a fifteen year old girl doesn’t need her dad? Don’t get me wrong. I was fifteen. Dad was annoying. Dad was a dork. Dad was embarrassing, overprotective, and just plain weird. But suddenly, when he was gone, I went from being fifteen and annoyed with Dad to feeling six again and thinking that he was a real life “Superman.” I was so angry. There were too many things I knew my dad would never see. My dad would never meet (or threaten J) my first boyfriend. He would never watch me make confession of faith. He wouldn’t see me play soccer for Covenant, attend junior/senior banquet, graduate high school, go to our favorite university (Go Green!!), get married, have kids, and so on. It wasn’t fair, and I was convinced it wasn’t right.
Sorry as I am to say, I did attend church with a horrible, ugly attitude fairly regularly. I remember sitting in the pew thinking “I don’t care. I don’t want to hear what He has to say. He took Dad away, and I don’t want to hear about anything He has to say to me.” Praying was hard. I found comfort sometimes, but sometimes nothing would help. I would jump back and forth: one day bringing my problems to the cross, and kneeling at God’s throne, and the next day I’d be angry. Unable to pray, unwilling to read the Word, rolling my eyes at everyone who said they were praying for me.
However, deep down I knew this was best. I tried to rest in the assurance that all things really do happen for the good of God’s people (Romans 8:28). Eventually I did learn, and the words of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” played a huge role in teaching me to lean on Jesus:
Oh, what peace we often forfeit!
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Finally, I coped with my anger especially in my junior and senior years at Covenant mostly because of choir. The words of the songs we sang taught me peace, joy, understanding, and love for my Savior even during the most difficult times of my life. Here are a few lines from a few songs that I remember helping me most.
No More Night:
See over there? There’s a mansion prepared for me!
Where I can live with my Savior eternally!
No more night! No more pain!
No more tears, never crying again!
Praises to the Great I Am,
We will live in the light of the Risen Lamb!
In Christ Alone:
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of Hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
The Inscription of Hope:
But a voice rises within me,
Saying “Hold on, my Child
I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you hope
Just stay a little while.”
I Will Rise:
I will rise, when He calls my name,
No more sorrow, no more pain,
I will rise on eagle’s wings
Before my God, fall on my knees and rise.
And finally, the one that probably calmed my anger the most:
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone):
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
My chains are gone! I’ve been set free!
My God, my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood His mercy rains.
Unending Love, Amazing Grace.