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The date of this image in my iPhone photo collection is exactly two years ago today, which was Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
I do not remember the gathering two years ago for which I might have created this name tag, but in my New International Version Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 30:5 says:
"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts for a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
And the text note on Psalm 30:5 in my study Bible says:
"Like a shot given by a doctor, the discomfort of God’s anger lasts only a moment, but the good effects go on for a long time. Let God’s anger be a sharp pain that warns you to turn from sin."
Well, it just so happens that yesterday afternoon I received my second and final dose of COVID vaccine in my right upper arm, and this morning I am still feeling some soreness from that shot, along with what seems to be a vaguely achy head, but otherwise no severe reaction, no distressing symptoms and no unusual sense of tiredness, just the tiredness I often feel on a Saturday after a long and stressful week of telework, with lots of unresolved problems to log back into early on Monday morning.
And to be honest, I’ve been in an absolutely foul mood all morning long.
I ought to be grateful and overflowing with praise and thanksgiving for the fact that now I’ve been fully immunized, and I’m still drawing a regular biweekly full-time paycheck and can continue to be productively employed while safely teleworking from home.
And instead I’m throwing a big pity party for myself. You know, the basic problem with a pity party is that the same 3 people always show up for them—Me, Myself and I. The unholy version of the trinity, if you will.
And of course the party never ends well; it’s like smearing Vaseline on your eyeglasses and then trying to appreciate the sunrise. You can’t see anything properly anymore.
I’m not sure God is really angry with me, though. Maybe he’s just patiently waiting for me to rediscover that he’s still here, and so am I, and now maybe it’s time to turn away from my self-absorbed cycle of anger, worry, regret, and shame, and embrace him once again.
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus I come,
Into thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus, I come to thee!
God, your power is greater than any state of mind or ungodly power that might still be holding me captive, so give me the grace to embrace the freedom that is already mine as a result of having been born again.
Because you are my Father and I am your child, there is no longer any reason for me to keep on dwelling in the shadows.
May this lingering soreness from yesterday’s immunization be a powerful reminder that when you brought me into a saving relationship with yourself, you effectively immunized me from a threat far greater than that posed by COVID-19: the otherwise-terminal disease of sin and death, for which you brought about the only remedy: dying in our place upon the Cross, taking upon yourself the punishment we so richly deserved, that we might go free and be reconciled to you.
Thank you for this timely lesson, Gracious Father. Amen.
~ Weber Ivy