The God with Broad Shoulders

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have it all together.  There are multiple areas in my life where I usually am in some state of disarray and loss.  We have all made cries to God from the depths of our heart and watched and waited…only for His answer to be “No” or, perhaps even more hard for comprehension, “Wait, there will be a better time for that.  Trust me.”

The “Wait” answer drives me crazy.   There have been times in my life when I couldn’t understand His plan or hand in my life, which for the type-A, obsessed with planning, oldest child and controlling person that I am, was torturous.

I was angry at God.

It wasn’t like when I was angry at a person – that I could always get away with either justifying or working through.  But with God?  I was having trouble even wrapping my mind around the emotions that I could even experience anger towards the God who loved me so much that He sent His only son to die for me.

I crawled to adoration and poured out my heart in the ink of gel pens and journal pages.  I drenched adoration hours with the sound of countless Hail Mary’s, wondering if even my closest mother would desire to listen to me in my anger and struggles.  Many times, I found myself simply staring at the Eucharist, questioning my sanity for believing that, in that tiny white host was contained the God of the Universe.  And then, an even more monstrously shocking realization to struggle with entered my thoughts – that the God under the appearance of the Eucharist wanted a relationship with this broken, muddled life like mine.

Emotions in and of themselves are not bad – in fact, they’re neutral.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in part with Saint Thomas Aquinas {what a stud} tackle the subject and say:

In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, “either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way.”  It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason. (CCC 1767)

The beauty of free will results in the ability to channel our passions and emotions.  Passions are amazing things actually, within them held the potential to either glorify God and create a stronger bond with Him, or to sever a relationship with Him due to pride and improper channeling.

So when anger rears its ugly head in our spiritual life, what is the answer? Internalize? Become scrupulous? Bury our anger because we can’t possibly be angry with a God who is love itself?

Being a musician, I find that other artists are able to vocalize the themes teaming in my thoughts. In this case, it was the dear old friend of mine, Mumford and Sons who embodied my struggle in their song, “Broad Shouldered Beasts.”

But when you feel the world wrapping round your neck,  feel my hand wrapped in yours. And when you feel the world wrapping round your neck, don’t succumb. But it’s alright, take it out on me.  (Mumford and Sons, Broad Shouldered Beasts)

If we viewed our relationship with God through a similar lens as we viewed our relationships with our best friends, closest family, and dearest lovers, our approach may shift directions. Too often there is a viewpoint presented of God as a being so high in the clouds that we can never consider ourselves close enough to His heart to merit conversation.  There couldn’t be a larger lie.

The reality of our relationship with God – or the capacity that we have within our hearts to communicate and commune with God – is that He stands for us and behind us…and is big enough to take our anger and transform it from a cancerous thought that plagues our mind and rots in our soul to an energy that allows us to rise up from our past and create our future alongside Him.  

 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?  Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?  Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94: 16-19)

When anger against God’s plan {or perceived lack of plan} in your life rises up, don’t squish it down inside of yourself under the notion that you can’t experience that emotion.  The key in the process is channeling your stress and anger into something productive.  When thoughts like I don’t know why this is happening to me or this situation is more than I can handle come into your mind, channel them.  Channel your thoughts into prayer.

Lord, I don’t know why this is happening to me, but I know your plan for me is amazing and outside of my wildest dreams.  Help me turn to you, take my heart and make it whole.

Dear GOD this situation is more than I can handle and I’m weak.  Bring me support and consolation and help me to rise out this temptation and struggle to glorify you.

Your anger is not too much for God to handle.  Neither is your personality, joys, experiences, struggles and pain.  Saint Teresa of Avila said, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”

So don’t settle for asking for clarity.  Ask for sainthood.  Ask for holiness.  Ask for Divine Assistance to work through what your struggling with and ask Him to transform your life.  Because not only CAN He help you, but He’s just waiting, arms open, for you to turn around and run into His arms.  Cast your anxieties on Him.

He has broad shoulders.  

 

 

 

 

 

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