Thus, in Haggai 1:9, the people’s hearts were intently set upon prosperous providences, full harvests and great increase; while in the meantime no regard was had to the worship of God and the things of His house; therefore Providence blasts their hopes and brings them to little.
Do not worry your hearts with sinful cares. ‘Behold the fowls of the air’ (Matt. 6:26), says Christ; not the fowls at the door that are daily fed by hand, but those of the air, that do not know where the next meal is coming from; and yet God provides for them. Remember your relation to Christ, and His engagements by promise to you, and by these things work your hearts to satisfaction and contentment with all the allotments of Providence.
God is grievingly angry when our sin causes us to become less and less of what God created us to be, because we were fearfully and wonderfully made to live for so much more. Our anger should be a grieving anger as well. When we see immorality and injustice, our anger should be stoked because of the devastating effects these things have on human life. When any of our three children disobey and require punishment when they show disrespect, don’t tell the truth, or whatever the violation might be—my wife and I get angry, and rightfully so. In those moments of disobedience, my children are dishonoring God, refusing to trust Him, refusing to obey Him. In those moments they’re running from God. But our anger toward them is a grieving anger, because we know they were created and designed for something so much better and more satisfying than soul—shrinking sin and disobedience. We grieve because their sin hurts them; it creates distance between them and God by hardening their hearts and their consciences. Our anger is stirred up because our love for them is radical—we want to see them become all God designed them to be, not less!
When the size of God grips us more than the size of our churches and leadership conferences, and when we become obsessed with surrendering our lives to God’s sovereign presence, only then will we be better able to witness God’s cosmic renewal—the making new of all things in Christ—by acting as agents of grace in a culture yearning for change.