According to the famous Strongs Bible Concordance, “aggravation” is not in the Bible. As part of our flesh nature, I’m sure it’s there. Irritation, agitation, annoyance, anger, aggravation arose up in some beloved saints and others. Naaman the Syrian traveled far to reach Elisha but, aggravated, left with a demonstrative huff, almost forfeiting his infamous healing. After receiving God’s call and chastisement, then witnessing the Lord’s mercy upon Nineveh, Jonah is stewing in aggravation by chapter 4.
Was Moses aggravated, when he disobeyed God, striking the Rock? This fleshly outburst woefully cost him entry into the treasured promised land.
But examples of godly longsuffering patience abound and stand tall upon spiritual pedestals. Joseph, Daniel, the Apostle Paul…God’s people harassed, provoked, deprived and mocked while faithfully enduring with patience, longsuffering and trust in the Sovereign God.
Nothing ever ‘just happened’ to Jesus while He walked on this earth, everything was according to our Father’s sovereign will. This is true for us, Christ’s Body. Walking with the Lord assures that He oversees, allows, and also orchestrates events – missed buses, lost keys, harassing street people, flat tires, crashed computers, achy backs, irritating relatives, noisy neighbors….everything.
After Revelation through Total Aggravation a number of annoyances finally led to the ‘aggravation jacket’. That comes about when you are already irritated, annoyed, late, carrying too many things and your nearly new winter jacket zipper gets jammed while in an elevator. Pull, tug, twist, pull, tug then YANK – just rend the jacket open and let the zipper slider fly off! That very second I was humbled…again.
I stopped by my dry cleaners and spoke with the tailor. Tsk, tsk….no, this can’t be fixed. This zipper is too difficult to remove and replace. You need a new jacket! Well, I resolved, I am not getting a new jacket. If I have to chain link this one closed, I will wear this ‘aggravation jacket’ and let the chill remind me of patience and longsuffering.
I believe there are fruits already from repentance. Just this week….
1. Church for us is an all day event, 8am to 5pm, as we attend service and serve in ministry. This past Sunday we opted to keep our parking space, leave our car and take the train. On the way home we went to the MTA station and found it was closed for repairs. Instead of walking 8 blocks to the next station, we decided to take a cab. At first the driver seemed oddly boisterous but it wasn’t until he went the wrong way and slurred his words did we realize he was drunk. We had to get out ASAP, which meant pulling over on the parkway.
We had to walk from the parkway to the nearest train station, many blocks away which included creepy deserted streets. Blustery cold and tired, I was not even aggravated!!!
2. Two days later I am at the post office, a Christmas gift I ordered 4 weeks ago finally arrived. Consistently voted the worst post office in the USA, this place is a shoo-in for aggravation. The package window was closed, a different one opened, there was one line but should have been two. I helped an elderly woman who was confused, pointing her to the correct window.
As this octogenarian pushed an envelope through the thick Plexiglas opening a huge man came out of the wrong line and began ranting profanities, actually directed to me. “HEY, I was f****g here before her! You didn’t *** see me?!? That’s right! I was….” He then took on the whole post office. By the time poor granny got her postage, this Philistine was challenging the clerk and calling him out to “beat the *** out of him”.
WELL, after all that, they couldn’t find my package! AND, I was genuinely pleasant, not even aggravated!
The Lord truly is answering my prayers to serve Him and fulfill those ‘good works which God prepared in advance’ for me to do. While I continue fellowship with Rhonda* Can God Use a Feral Cat? the Lord has brought other young believers and new ministry members to me to mentor. One I meet regularly for coffee or lunch while another recently added after a long conversation, “you’re like a mother to me!” Ha, I keep forgetting how old I am!
A sister approached me on Sunday, “I was wondering if you had some time, could I talk to you about something?” Of course!
Just recently I invited a neighbor to a Christmas concert. When I called to confirm she cried, “I am in the biggest sh**storm of my life!” A working single mom, with chronic illness and no local relatives, God opened the door for me to share resources and commit to daily morning babysitting her two year old. (I knew there was a reason I joined the gym last year!)
The Lord mercifully hammers out my fleshly flaws as they would dishonor Him and hinder the Holy Spirit. He prepares us not only to serve Him here, but ultimately to be with Him forever.