We’ve all been warned before: “Watch out, he has a quick temper.” Be careful around her, “she can go off at any moment on you.” “That group has a short fuse, so watch yourself.” Such statements are warnings against engaging with someone because the individual or the group has a reputation of getting angry or upset in the blink of an eye. Things may seem fine, but all of a sudden, they explode. A quick temper, a short fuse; we’ve probably experienced it in some form.
On the other extreme, we have known individuals that it takes a lot to get them upset or mad. They just seem to absorb the situation around them, regardless of how stressful it is, and simply move forward in calm, cool, and collected manner. When times are uncertain and anxiety is running high, we look to such individuals to help navigate us through it all. In the language of Family Systems Theory, we look to those who are a “non-anxious presence when everyone’s anxiety is off the chart. An individual who can keep it together as well as ourselves.
As people of faith, we trust that God, in spite of the chaos of our world at times, has things under control. God does not allow his divine frustration to spill over into temper tantrums, vindictiveness, or hostility towards you and me. Even with every reason to let us have it at times, God remains calm, cool, and collected. The psalmist realized this in the 145th Psalm where he confessed, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 145:8) For the writer of this Psalm, God could be trusted to keep things together where others might lose it, go off the handle, or explode in anger. God is able to handle the stress of a world which seems so tightly round up that it might spin off its axis.
Likewise, in our own individual lives, our insides can get all tied up in knots as well, our stress level erratic, and we are unsure how much we can take. We ourselves might feel as though we are about to explode from the inside. In faith, however, we can bring all of this to God and trust that the God we come to will not turn away from us, throw up his hands in frustration, or strike out at us in pent up anger. Rather, we are met by God’s gracious mercy, abounding love, and patience. God is calm. God is cool. And God is collected.
Regardless of how stressful life can become, God can handle it. We simply must trust that God is ablet to hande it all; including our own lives.