Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome to Tornado Alley

“Anger is cruel and fury is overwhelming. But who can stand against jealousy.”
Proverbs 27:4
As I finished this piece Hurricane Isaac came and went leaving a trail of destruction. I’ve lived through hurricane seasons in Florida and feel for Gulf Coast residents. You take every precaution, make all the preparations and may not escape the storm unscathed.
Now I live in “Tornado Alley” and they’re a different beast. Hurricane’s slow development makes it easier to predict the track and strength, giving time to prepare. Storm cells that spawn tornados are identifiable; however, everything is literally up in the air until the twister touches down. Both storm systems are capable of producing extensive damage and loss of life.
I associate anger and fury with hurricanes. A catalyst (wave off the African coast) triggers the storm: threat, harm, hurt, danger, etc. real or imagined. Potential hurricanes fizzle all the time. Opportunities to get mad do the same; they’re not worth the expenditure of energy and emotional capital. Other times conditions escalate until confrontation occurs (landfall). Emotions highly charged for an extended period often result in substantial damage. Innocent people caught up in the tempest suffer its fury.
Jealousy is a tornado, explosive and irrational. Events that trigger jealous reactions catch all involved off guard. 1 Samuel shows this happening in the lives of Saul and David. Saul was a storm looking for a place to happen. Disobedience caused the kingdom to pass to another upon his death (1 Samuel 15:27-28). He was tormented by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:24). Sent by his father Jesse to carry provisions to his brothers serving in Saul’s army, David the heir apparent to the throne (1 Samuel 16:13) and Saul’s lives intersected.
Israel’s army stood paralyzed, intimidated by the Philistine Goliath. David took on and defeated the giant and found himself married to Saul’s daughter, best friend to Saul’s son Jonathan and living in the royal household. Initially “Saul liked him (David) very much” (1 Samuel 16:2). He was Saul’s go to guy. “Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it successfully” (1 Samuel 18:15). Things progressed splendidly until a simple song sung by some women put David in the crosshairs of his own personal F-5 tornado. Saul’s outbursts were unpredictable and dangerous. David eventually fled for his life and kept running until his nemesis died.
            It’s irrational that a song would trigger such a reaction, but that’s how jealousy works. Incidents that spark anger and fury find resolution through restitution and apologies. One mistakenly accused has the opportunity to prove their innocence. David was helpless to diffuse Saul’s jealousy; there was no wrong to right, no reason to apologize. As rightful heir to the throne, David refused to seize the position by killing Saul when opportunities arose. He remained loyal to God’s Anointed until the end and bitterly mourned Saul’s death.
            Jealousy took David and Saul by surprise; neither saw it coming. David was powerless to halt its assaults. Saul was unable or unwilling to control its hate. Numbers 5:14 teaches that jealousy is a spirit-herein lies the key for dealing with its outbursts. When we find ourselves in the path of a tornado named jealousy, here are steps to minimize the damage.
            First, fight the battle in the right realm with the right weapons. Jealousy is a spirit. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us our enemy isn’t “flesh and blood.” Among other things David was a psalmist and a worshipper. Saul’s mad rages subsided when David played his harp and sang. Don’t think any old music will do. Psalm 22:3 states that God literally abides in praise. A jealous spirit is no match for the living God; it’s not a fair fight, thank God! Pray for God’s wisdom to handle the situation correctly. Ask Him to bless your adversary, not just for the sake of getting them off your back, but for their benefit.
            Second, get out of harm’s way. For his own safety, David fled the scene. This may be the only sane course of action. Yes, you are the innocent party and no, it’s not fair you have to leave but do you want to subject yourself to unnecessary abuse? Unless God specifically instructs you to stay, “get out of Dodge!”
            What if you are Saul and not David? Not a comforting thought but a real possibility. How do you keep from becoming a spear throwing maniac? First, maintain a close, healthy walk with God. He will gladly let you know when you are getting too emotionally wound up. “Nip it in the bud” as Barney Fife of the Andy Griffith show would say. Hebrews 4:15 assures us that Jesus faced opportunities to throw hissy fits and didn’t. He understands exactly how we feel and can navigate us through the mine field called emotions to a place of peace and safety for us and for others. Ask God to show you why you’re upset, He will. Pray for the poor soul in your line of fire, they need it.
            Second, take advantage of trusted friends and counselors. Their unbiased view of the situation brings another perspective and clarity. They see dynamics and consequences you overlooked.
            No matter which side of the equation you’re on, with jealousy everyone loses. David and Saul both suffered as the result of Saul’s actions. This side of eternity will present ample opportunities to cross paths with this spirit. Identifying the enemy’s modus operandi gives us the advantage of recognizing the storm and taking steps to survive. Oh, and before I forget let me say, “Welcome to Tornado Alley.”

1 comment:

  1. This blog is so very, very excellent! What a gifted writer and teacher, you are. We are continiing to pray that doors will open for further exposure in more places to more people with ever increasing anointing and revelation. Blessings on ya, Dave