when it’s not your fault

There are days.

This is one of them.

Mercy is improving one minute, regressing the next rather like an ocean of storm-tossed waves.  There is a battle over her.  She is heaven’s treasure and heaven will not stop until she is free to fly.  Neither will we.  And she isn’t the only stormy one in need of her naming today.

Bright blue sky and glistening green fields.  Thanks flows effortlessly.  But what about when the houses flood with the rain, a much needed building is poorly made (that is a kind estimate) and then the contractor’s workers come threatening to kill you, your kids, tear the poorly constructed house down and kill your staff in the process because HE didn’t pay them.  Money already that has been given.  Again demanded by force.  Stolen.  Extorted by violence.

Inside I rage.  I do.  I wish I could say I am all calm and peaceful, all love and grace.  No I am raw, barely-bridled fury.  The hardest tempests to weather are the ones that rage within.  I am angry at all that steals life and provision.  I am angry at the men waving fists in my face.  I am just plain mad.  Give to those who ask.  Uh-huh.  I would really rather call fire on their heads.  Some days the corruption, the lying, the stealing– it cuts {{{SO}}} deep.

I tell them we can sit and discuss this calmly or I will bring the police to help us sort out the problem.  They say people will die if I {or anyone else} leaves to get the police and then they will have something to be arrested for.

I have to pay the price for someone ELSE’S sin.  Someone else’s  greed.  Someone else’s dishonesty.  Someone else’s poor planning.  Someone else’s treachery.  I have to pay what has already been paid again.  So either pay them their wages or they will destroy.

It’s only money.  Blood is not worth it.  So I fork over the hundreds of dollars they demand.  I do not do it gently and I fight hard to keep the daggers from coming from my gaze.  Soft eyes.  Don’t glare.  Be compassionate.  They need to eat too.  Bless those that threaten to kill you and all you hold dearest for something that is someone else’s mistake.  But inside I fume and boil and churn.  This stealing money from children.  What kind of ingrates do THAT?

Maybe the kind who don’t know the One Who owed them nothing but paid everything anyway.  {Didn’t this Someone pay for my treachery too when I least deserved it?}  I soften just a little, a very little.  The storm still batters against my heart.

I tell the contractor succinctly (whose fault all of this is) we will not be needing any more of his services.  Contractor #5.  Every single one to date has ended badly.  Cheated, lied, stolen.  I fight against the pull to generalize about his profession.  My voice is cold.  I will it to warm up.  Gentle.  Don’t let the storm inside out.

I bite back the gale tearing at my eyelids.  I give what is asked.  Begrudgingly.

I don’t do so well on extending grace today, but I sure am in need of a lot of it.  I manage to smile at them and offer a half-hearted God bless you as they leave still murmuring threats.  I will myself to mean it.  I do.  I choose to bless those that curse so violently.  I will my heart to at least try and agree.

The hardest storms to calm are the ones that rage inside.  BUT it is SOMEONE else’s fault screams within.  I don’t like paying for someone else’s sin.  I don’t.  And that is only evidence to how much I need a Savior to pay for my own.

In my dark house, pounding out keys, the storm subsides just a little and hot rivers stream hard and fast.  My children’s voices rise in worship, drift through my window.  Oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus.  The blood I did not in any way deserve, the grace that cost HIM everything washes me again. 

I sure am glad for grace in my storms and One Who is far more gracious than I am to hold me through them.  He collects all the day has piled on in its heaviness and lifts off the weight, pulls me close and whispers peace.

I pray to be more like Him tomorrow than I was today.  Not just in my actions.  I did the right thing… biting my tongue all the way.  Check.  Gold star.  But deep in my heart where the words flow from.  I wouldn’t have to bite my tongue if my heart did not blow and bluster and storm.

I am thankful for grace.  Thankful for protection.  Thankful even for storms that churn things up and let me see what lies within my own heart.  And thankful for His mercy that covers it all.