This is one of those posts that I edged into very carefully. It’s easy to throw some good sounding words together that hold no real benefit. It’s even easier to attach words onto my own emotions and twist them around to seem super deep and spiritual. Coming out of my last post I really didn’t know what to write next. I feel pressure to guide you into what’s next…you know, you’re supposed to pray and the next day everything’s better, right? But life isn’t always like that, is it? Sometimes the dry seasons are very dry and very long. The expectation is to quickly pick yourself up and say ‘Oh yeah, I’m fine now, thanks’ but the reality is it takes time, a lot of time.
Many people responded to my last post and said they felt like I had written from inside their head. The most common thing people identified with? Feeling angry towards God. As believers we claim to serve a God who is sovereign and in control of all. We say that nothing that comes our way catches Him by surprise, and we say He has a purpose in every detail. It’s no surprise then that we would feel angry towards Him in some of the situations we find ourselves in. Sometimes life is just plain not fair. Sometimes it seems like we have gotten the short end of the stick for the tenth time in a row. As believers we are supposed to have this unwavering faith in God’s goodness-we all know the bible answers, and we’re supposed to sing praises as the ‘waters crash around us’. But I wonder how many of us internally are doubting, hurting, and angry, and not able to admit to it? The feedback from this last post has really shown me that it’s more of us than we would expect.
With all this in mind, I’ve been wrestling with what to write next. How real do I get? I don’t want to post one big journal entry full of emotions. At the same time I don’t want to hand you a bunch of fluffy feel good words that aren’t coming out of my heart. I’m still wrestling with some heavy stuff. But as I’ve been wrestling, He’s been leading. And as I learn, the words always come.
So, you’re angry with God?
Have you told Him?
If He was sitting in front of you and you were looking Him in the eye like a real flesh and blood entity, what words would you use to express how you’re feeling?
Do it. Right now. Tell Him. Use a few profanities if you feel like it. Stand up. Pace the room. Raise your voice. Get it out. All of it.
I read this verse last night:
“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him, yet I will argue my ways to His face.” (Job 13:15)
I’ve read this before, and I’ve said this before, but God is not afraid of our doubts. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is feeling doubt, fear, or anger concerning God, and allowing those feelings to separate us from Him. It’s like we think we can only go to Him when we have something good to say (as if He doesn’t know our hearts and minds already). We feel like we should take some time away until we’ve cooled down or found our faith again or whatever it may be. Do we realize how silly this is? In my struggling with anger towards God, I seek counsel from friends..I go to people to talk about how I should be feeling about God, instead of just talking to God about how I’m feeling about God. Would this work in any other relationship? We’ve all had moments in our relationships where we have to say ‘I love you, but I’m angry right now, and this doesn’t make sense.’ Or, ‘This really hurt me and maybe there’s a miscommunication here but I’m confused.’ Why do we lose that honesty when it comes to talking with God? What if we started arguing our ways to His face?
I’m challenged with this. I’m learning as I talk out my anger towards God, with God, it is always a surface level anger that is tied to a deep-rooted fear or hurt. We tend to cover up fear and hurt with anger because fear and hurt make us look vulnerable and weak. Anger on the other hand makes us seem strong, like we’ve got it together, we know what should be and everybody better step out of the way. So instead of saying ‘God, they left me here and I feel like You’re going to leave too’, or ‘I have given up everything and I’m scared to death that You wont come through’, or ‘I am not strong enough to push through all of this’, or ‘I feel so alone here’, we just get angry.
He can handle our anger. I’ve found He is very quick to put me in my place, and eventually to comfort me in my hurt, fear, and confusion. That’s the thing about being in the presence of God- everything falls into perspective. It doesn’t matter if your situation is fair or not, you see God for who He really is, and you are filled with peace.
This is my favorite verse of all time, from my favorite prophet, Jeremiah:
“If I say, ‘I will not mention Him, or speak anymore in His name’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
I relate to Jeremiah so much. Ever have days where you say ‘I’m done. I have tried to be faithful and I’m just done’? It reminds me of a relationship between two lovers. You have that one person that can irritate you more than anyone else, and yet, when they walk into the room their beauty leaves you speechless. They could do absolutely anything to you and you may get angry but you will keep coming back because you have never encountered something that makes you feel the way they do.
In the seasons when I am so upset with Him, when it seems like He is just messing with me for fun, when I have begged and pleaded and He has not answered, when He hands me things I do not want to deal with, when I try to walk away…I always come back, because He has set a fire in my heart, and even when I want to, I cannot hold it in.
How could Job say though He slay me, I will trust in Him? How could Jeremiah not keep from speaking of His name even when he tried? How can I continue to seek a God who doesn’t stop hard circumstances even though He could? The thing is, even knowing that He allows my greatest pains, He is still the source of my greatest joy. In my anger I may turn away and seek out peace and comfort in other things, but nothing will ever satisfy like He has.
What Job knew, and what I am learning, is that once you have tasted of the love and faithfulness of Jehovah God, it doesn’t matter how hard things get, you will always come back.
What Jeremiah learned, and what I am learning, is that you can try to keep your lips sealed with everything you have, but once you have encountered the living God, your body is going to burn with restlessness to testify to His name.
Nothing else compares.
So, you’re angry with God? Tell Him. You can try to walk away if you want, but it’s only a matter of time till you come back. Go ahead and dig deep into a discussion with Him about why. Call Him out if you think He’s done you wrong. I cannot promise you will find the exact answers you’re wanting, but I can promise at the end of it all you will find a reason to keep going.