Rend your heart and not your garments, return to the LORD your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. - Joel 2:13 (niv)
I have probably read this verse dozens of times. Yet, this last time I came across it, I was inspired to make a drawing based upon its imagery. So l looked up the word rend for a more specific definition, since it's not a commonly used word these days, and I wanted to make sure I portrayed it right as well. Only to be quite surprised that my presumed understanding of the word was nowhere close to the actual definition. While I am sure there are plenty of people who know that rend means to tear or rip without looking it up. I bring it up now to reveal that more knowledge, and understanding can find its way to us anytime, and in a variety of unexpected ways.
Needles to say, the imagery was far more intense than I realized. Not to mention it refers to an action that I was familiar with, but hadn't tied to this verse before. The Hebrew practice of tearing ones clothes in frustration, the most famous Biblical example being Caiphus during the trial of Jesus. (Matt. 26:65)
Which makes this verse something the church should consider during these rather-frustrating times. What this verse indicates is a far cry from what we actually see being practiced by many in their frustrations. Things like sulking, complaining, blaming, or criticizing people.
Rather it speaks of owning our mistakes, and allowing our brokenness to be evident before all, including God. Since it is often through our brokenness that God finds his way back in. But that won't happen if we are being over-protective of our wounds, or whitewashing ourself with false joy.
So the take away should be, when we're frustrated, look to the one thing you have the most power to change, yourself. Rather than throw it in someone else's face as garment renders did. Look also to the one person best equipped to reveal the truth behind your heartache to you, God. Don't be like Caiphus who refused to own his brokenness and blamed someone else, for his frustration. By relying only on himself rather than seek God's wisdom. Yet claiming to be doing God's work, when in reality he was only protecting his authority. A man despite all his knowledge of scripture, lacked the insight to see truth staring him in the face.
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