Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is It Okay To Be Angry at God?

That's a loaded question, isn't it?  Should we be angry at God?  The short answer is, "No, we shouldn't because to do so is an implication that He has done something wrong."  However, things are not always as cut and dry.  While we know in our hearts that God does nothing wrong, when He doesn't live up to our expectations, we feel He has let us down.  Deep down, there's a brewing resentment that's muttering, "Some loving God!  You obviously don't even care enough about me to fix this situation or answer my prayers."

When I say this conversation takes place deep down, there's a reason for that.  We're ashamed to admit that we're mad at God.  After all, what kind of Christian gets angry with the holy God?  So, we keep our anger to ourselves and think we've overcome the problem, but the truth is, the anger is still there, and as long as it's there, it's hindering our relationship with God.

So, what are we to do?  Obviously, the best thing would be not to get angry with God to begin with, but as humans, we often fall prey to our emotions.  So, then what?  When the anger is there, and we feel we can't even pray--or maybe don't want to pray--what should we do?

First, admit it!  It's a hard thing to accept.  I know; I've been there.  But until we admit that we're angry at God, we're not going to make things any better.  We can't avoid the issue and hope it will go away. It won't.  It will be there until we address it, and the first step is admitting those feelings, no matter how guilty they make us feel.

Secondly, we need to talk to God.  This sounds simple, but let's face it, when we're mad at someone, the last thing we want to do is speak to them, right?  However, if we want the issue resolved, it's the only way.  Go to God and tell Him exactly how you feel.  Yes, you read that right.  Tell God that you're angry at Him.  Tell Him why you're upset.  Pour out your feelings in every detail.  Don't be rude or disrespectful, but be honest.  Hold nothing back.  I assure you, God is big enough to handle it.  Besides, He already knows what's going on.  He's fully aware of our anger, so our confession will not be a surprise to Him.  But once we open up those lines of communication again, healing can begin.

Lastly, we need to listen.  Okay, we've had our say.  We've laid out our feelings and complaints.  Now, it's God's turn to talk.  He may speak to us in His still, small voice, but typically, in times like these, He speaks to us through His Word.  You know what that means, right?  We have to read it!  Once we've admitted our anger and laid it out before the Lord, it's time to sit down with our Bible and hear what God has to say to us.  He may speak an explanation or answer a prayer right then and there.  Or He may give us words of comfort and encouragement to help us through.  Sometimes, the words He gives are reminders of just how much He loves and cares for us.

When we first start reading, our anger and bitterness may prevent us from hearing what God is saying.  In this case, we need to decide that we will allow Him to speak.  He listened to us.  It's our turn to listen.  We must actively cast aside all negative feelings and turn our full attention to God's Word.  When the feelings resurface (and I can almost guarantee you they will), tell yourself aloud, "No, I am not giving myself the freedom to address my anger and hard feelings right now.  This is God's time to speak, and I will listen."  Then, go back to reading until you hear from God.

Is it okay to be angry with God?  Not really, but it happens.  A lot.  Far more than I think we care to admit.  But we need to admit it.  Only then can we open up the door to resolving the issue at hand.  In the end, you'll be glad you did.

I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.  O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. - Lamentations 3:55-58

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