Earlier this week my world was turned upside down with a crunch of bumpers on College Road. Airbags were deployed, 911 was dialed, and there was a flurry of text messages. Thankfully no one was injured but my delicate balance of life and responsibilities was tipped over. My husband and I were in shock, and it felt like the peace in our home had been stolen. A loving friend sent us Dominoes Pizza for dinner. We needed it.
My response to the wreck has surprised me. I took it very personally, and I have been mad at God. For the first 24 hours, I would not talk to Him. Every time an involuntary prayer came to mind I silenced it. I would only talk to Jesus or Holy Spirit! Now, 48 hours out, cooler heads have prevailed and God and I are talking, but I’m still pretty upset. I feel like I’ve been betrayed by my Best Friend.
I know that I’m not the first person to be angry at God. You’ve probably had some ugly outbursts at God yourself. In this fallen world, bad things happen to people who have surrendered their lives to God. We pray for protection and then get hurt. We pray for healing and sometimes people don’t get healed. Husbands leave. Children stray. Parents pass. Illnesses linger. We are left disappointed, dazed, and confused. We demand, “Why, God?” because sometimes life just doesn’t make sense.
We are not alone in this common struggle. The prophet Jeremiah had an angry outburst with God. We find in Chapter 20 that the priest found out that Jeremiah was prophesying and had him beaten and put in stocks. Jeremiah says,
You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.
Jeremiah got angry, just like us. How should we handle anger at God?
1) Like Jeremiah and King David before him, I believe we should be open and honest about how we feel. I think that our relationship with God is strong enough that He can handle our emotions. He made them and He understands them better than anyone. He sees that when crisis happens we are in shock and grief and that we are not thinking clearly. There is grace, and it is sufficient for us in our weakness.
2) We are also told in Ephesians 4:26 that in our anger we are not to sin, and not to let the sun go down on our anger. These verses instruct us to work on forgiving God. You may not feel it at first, but if you can say, “God, I forgive you for allowing this to happen” you will start the process of forgiveness. Also forgive everyone else involved in the situation.
3) Even though you might not feel like it, continue to serve God. In his anger, Jeremiah tried to not prophesy as God directed him:
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9
Even in our anger, we still have a call of God on our lives. In our anger, we still have gifts from God. So don’t be stubborn in your anger and refuse to serve God.
4) Speak with a trusted pastor, mentor or friend. When our emotions are out of control, we don’t think or see things clearly. I spoke with my pastor and my mentor today to help me make sense of my feelings and to gain a better perspective on what happened.
Anger is a natural response when things don’t go our way or according our plan. I believe that God’s grace is still there for us in our anger. I think that He is patient with us as we rant and rave because He knows that His Holy Spirit is still at work in our hearts, teaching and convicting. God does not give up on us…He remains faithful even when we are faithless. Nothing can separate us from the love of God…not even anger.
If you are angry and disappointed with God today, you are not alone. I am with you. God has not deserted us. Receive His grace as your right the ship of your unruly emotions.
Is there a time when were angry with God? How did you deal with it? What scriptures gave you direction and hope? I really want to know.
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