Justly and Fairly

A storm hit as we drove into Ottumwa for our anniversary dinner. The wind was pushing the semis on the highway.

There was road construction on Main Street – the detour took us by the high school. A football game just ended and the traffic was thick. I watched a youth climb over the chain link fence to retrieve his water bottle. As he climbed back over, I prayed his ride was nearby.

David turned on the local radio station and they were urging everyone to take shelter. We weren’t sure where to go. I directed him to where I thought the restaurant was. We drove right by it.

The tornado siren went off. We pulled over at 2nd Street Cafe to get out of the storm. After 2 minutes, we decided we didn’t want to celebrate there.

Back in the van, David realized he was almost out of gas. He drove to Pennsylvania Avenue where the gas station had a canopy. He used the pump next to the building where the canopy almost reached the roof. While I waited, I called “Appanoose Rapids” for directions.

Turning on the correct street, we drove through the alley and parked under the bridge. The radio predicted hail and downed trees. It was raining as we rushed through the parking lot. The rain came hard after we sat down. Tornadoes hit North English, Parnell, and Williamsburg.

But, why wasn’t I terrified? Normally, I would be yelling at David to get me somewhere safe. I didn’t even yell at him for almost running out of gas. That would have been exciting in a tornado.

I realized my steps of faith last week helped me overcome my fear. It no longer held me in a paralyzing grip. I would rather live in peace. God is in control. I’m His favorite – as are you.

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I felt confident when I opened my Bible today. Then God showed me a new area to work on – getting along with family members.

“…the twins Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25-36)…came out of the womb fighting. Jacob…the people of Israel, Esau…the people of Edom. …They had a long history of war and rivalry. When Israel was taken into exile…Edom stood across the fence and watched, glad to see her old relative get beat up. …But the last line…Israel…is…saved from the injustices of the past and taking up a postion of rule…But instead of doing to others what had been done to them…they are…taking over the reins of government and administering God’s justice justly. …On the Day of Judgment, dark retaliation and invective do not get the last word.” The Message Introduction to Obadiah

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Obadiah 1:21, “The remnant of the saved in Mount Zion will go into the mountains of Esau, and rule justly and fairly, a rule that honors God’s kingdom.” The Message

Studying Proverbs 14, I found this gem in the cross-references.

Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” New International Version

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Proverbs 19:11, “Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” The Message

We are good at forgiving our family members but not at forgetting. When offended, we bring up every offense from before. We know which family members to share the latest hurt and who will agree with us. We don’t mention it to the ones that will disagree with us.

“Peacemakers…make excellent therapists and mediators… But sometimes they’re inclined to seek peace at any price, use their relational skills to blend in, and avoid taking the initiative or assuming risks because of their undue attachment to comfort and security. They often suffer from ‘terminal niceness’ when courage is what’s really required.” The Word for You Today

Am I keeping the peace or enabling one to continue in an unhealthy manner? Is my silence interpreted as agreement? Am I a doormat because everything I say or do is used against me? I need courage. I guess I am still facing my fears.

Dear God, Help me be just and fair. Amen.

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