A rather frightening storm cloud just minutes before a rainstorm in Statesboro, Georgia...
Photography and Article by Curtis Beaird
A shrill voice, always loud, always assaulting, can tear away at the fabric of our soul. Shouting has become the order of the day. From the news media to politicians, the soft answer that turns away wrath is a voice seldom heard. Instead, harsh words that stir up anger are everywhere, read and heard.
Insults abound. Accusations fly freely. Barbed speech that “tells it like it is” is welcomed and applauded. The more absurd the attacks, the better we like it.
We are an angry people betrayed by the idols of our day.
Bring out the wrecking ball, we are mad.
But, there is a price we pay for indulging our rage. A soul-numbing withdrawal that leads us into our version of anger and calculated retaliation, even if the urge to slap back is never acted out. We seethe in silence.
The most serious loss, especially to a believer, is the knowledge and awareness of what the Apostle Paul called a “good work” begun by God in us. Paul put it this way to his Philippian friends, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ..." Philippians 1:6
If we allow ourselves to follow the ways of a world bent on retaliation and aggression, we risk forgetting to attend to the “good work" that the spirit of God began in us. Anger, rage and wrath silences the Spirit of God. Our own frustration, aggravation and irritation can overwhelm the knowledge of the good that God has placed in us. The world is seductive. It gleefully and gladly leads us away from the highest and best work that God has for us to do.
Basically, God has a habit of speaking to us in the same way He spoke to Elijah “in a still small voice”. Allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by the blaring sounds of constant conflict, both within our spirit and from the colliding worlds outside of us, can insulate us from God’s longing to perform the work He began in us.
While there is no escaping the conflict that rages about us; nor should we want to, we do have the choice of focus. We do have the choice of the voice we listen to. We do have the capacity to determine our response. It is not a matter of avoiding the fray, it is a matter of following Paul’s example; and in generosity, speaking the truth into the darkness generated by a noisy world that knows only how to consume.
The Knox Bible translates the “good work in us” as a God-inspired generosity. Paying attention to the good that God seeks to develop in us, we are free to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a world that knows only wars and rumors of wars until Christ’s return.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.