Angie logged online, desperately hoping tempers had cooled on her favorite bulletin board. For over a month several posts had set fingertips flying with biting, hurtful remarks. It had come to the point where Angie – who normally found her bb home a place of support, peace, and laughter – could feel her heartbeat race by simply looking at the homepage.
Today, if things hadn’t changed, Angie had vowed to leave the site.
Three years earlier, on the day her parents died, Angie blindly roamed the internet and stumbled upon a wonderful community of friends lovingly termed “Prayer Warriors”. Anytime someone on the board needed a special prayer, heads around the world bowed in supplication for virtual strangers.
It was unfathomable to someone so utterly alone. Angie had no living family and, due to her agoraphobia, no real friends. She didn’t even own a pet. Other than the boy who delivered groceries and the occasional phone salesman, Angie lived a life of solitude. Her new online friends were the closest things she had to family.
This year something changed. Tempers flared with the click of a mouse. Members were prone to seek the worst possible meaning out of the simplest remark. Angie didn’t know which threads were safe to open, and which would leave her heavy with emotional baggage. She didn’t know how much more she could take.
As her computer began mapping it’s way through billions of wires to a final destination, she nervously fingered her long, curly hair. Today had been pretty bad. Even walking out to the foyer to grab her mail had resulted in fits of uncontrollable shaking.
Please God, she silently prayed, let it be a place of comfort today.
At last the desired screen popped up. She brought up the community board and, taking a deep breath, scanned the first two thread titles:
“Why Can’t We All Get Along?”
“Not All Here Are Christians”.
Anger still prevailed, dripping off titles like searing oil. Tendrils of discontent coiled around her heart, clutching so tightly she almost couldn’t breathe. Angie clenched her fists, willing the hot tears flooding her eyes to stay back. Frantic for something positive Angie glanced at the next thread.
“God Has Spoken”.
This was it. This was the one. It would be uplifting, beautiful, bringing hope like a spray of cool mist on a charred soul. This post would convince her to stay.
With trepidation she opened and read an intriguing poem about God. It seemed a bit odd, but Angie could see what the author must have been trying to say.
Wondering what others thought she read some of the responses.
“Blasphemy!” wrote Amy69.
“This is how you praise God?” posted Hawaii5o.
On and on and on the belittling, hurtful statements went. Little pinpricks of sweat broke out over Angie’s forehead, as though every hateful word pierced her mind.
“This is ridiculous!” she yelled, her voice breaking the oppressing silence of her empty apartment. She shoved back her chair and began striding across the room. “I needed help, Lord, and you gave me this? Where can I turn to now? Why? Why would you let this happen?”
For minutes on end Angie chased her anger around the room: sometimes catching and holding on to it so tightly her head ached with the effort; other times left with echoes of thoughts too fast to grasp. All the while she spewed bits and pieces of her own anger and frustration toward the heavens.
With a huff Angie sat back down and stared at the screen, too upset to see anything, until one word finally penetrated. Ridiculous. Hadn’t she just used that same word?
Why would you do this? Wasn’t that one of her thoughts? Looking on Angie could see her own fury resonated in the words of the posters.
So she wasn’t immune to the tainted words repeatedly read throughout the last month. Rancid attitudes had rubbed off, leaving behind a smoldering trail.
Remorse washed over her and Angie broke down, allowing tears to freely flow, washing away the strands of anger that had been wrapped so tightly around her. At last she started to understand what He’d been trying to tell her. It was finally time to rely on someone else – someone stronger.
Angie clicked off her computer, knelt down in the middle of the room, and bowed her head. “Father,” she prayed, “I’ve had a really bad day…”
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