Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that brings You glory. From "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me
I've been "hearing" this refrain in my head today. I think that I've mentioned before that songs really touch my heart and speak to my soul and this one does that.
It's been a big news day and it has polarized people in painful ways. I'm not here to say what's right. People respond how they respond and I cannot sit in judgement of them. I won't. I just keep coming back to this refrain...
Bring me joy. What brings me joy? It's noticing my blessings and being thankful for them. That is it in a nutshell. Sometimes the feelings of happiness and joy are wrapped up in a thing (like the joy I got when I looked at my pedicured tootsies a few weeks ago). But to be honest, that joy was more about the time spent with a friend building a relationship. I get joy when I give my kids things they like, but that is about seeing their excitement and to be honest, they get just as excited about a hike in the woods as they do a new video game. (I need to remember that more often.) The joy is in the time invested and the relationships The joy is in living in community and sharing my love with others.
Bring me peace.. What brings me peace? No, not the kind when I am home alone. True peace comes from knowing who I am and whose I am and that I am saved by grace through faith and not by works of the law. Honest. No kidding. The peace I find in that feeds right into....
Bring the chance to be free. That peace gives me freedom that is bigger than the Boogie Man. (Thanks Veggie Tales! ;) ) In that peace of knowing I also have a freedom to live and be what God called me to be, not because I have to be, but because I am gifted and uniquely made to be and do these things.
Bring me anything that brings You glory. There's the tricky part. I have peace and joy and freedom and in these things I am able to do what brings God glory and while I don't have to, it's part of what I am called to do as a child of God. It means I need to ask if what I'm doing actually brings God glory.
The next verse of this song is telling and it's really about responding in faith...And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain. This isn't about God bringing suffering, it's about being able to still walk as children of God in the midst of it. It's about responding in love even when you're angry. It's about leaning into God when it feels like all you want to do is shake your fists and kick somebody in the shins.
I don't feel better when I have a rant. Maybe it's because as a woman I've been socialized not to react in anger. (My mother was a ranter though, so...) I just never feel good afterward. I don't feel vindicated or justified. I feel...ashamed that I let bitterness get that much of a hold over my tongue and it happens more frequently than I care to admit.
It's not that it's unChristian to be angry. Emotions are good and healthy, it's what we do with them. The point is that when I let my anger get a hold of me, I cannot find joy or peace or freedom and without any of those things, glorifying God isn't so doable. I don't want to let my anger prevent me from fully experiencing a glorious God-given life, even if life can be not-so-perfect and often painful.
Lord, I ask you to bring us each joy and peace and freedom. I pray that in our own ways we bring You glory.