Ever felt angry with God? Feeling angry with God right now? Maybe you don’t want to admit it. Being angry with God feels “bad.” You’re supposed to love God, not be angry with Him, right? But part of your soul is upset with Him and you can’t get past it. Do you feel like you’re in trouble if you’re angry with God?
Perhaps you’ve been struggling with an addiction. You’ve tried and tried and still feel stuck. You’ve prayed and prayed and it seems God hasn’t done anything to help. What more could He want from you?
Or maybe your marriage is in trouble. Or you want to get married and don’t have any good prospects. Perhaps your finances are a mess and you don’t see any way forward. And God’s not answering your prayers. You’re upset.
Or perhaps you’ve lost a loved one. How could God let this happen? He could have stopped that accident from happening, or healed their illness. Why didn’t He? Doesn’t He know how much pain you’re in? Doesn’t He care?
If you feel angry with God you’re in good company. Our human hearts struggle to reconcile a good God who is both powerful and loving with all the bad stuff that happens, both in the world and to us personally.
So what do you do when you feel angry with God?
God’s Friends were Angry With Him
We read repeatedly in Scripture that God’s very best friends got angry with Him. And God didn’t berate them for it. A few examples:
Moses had returned to Egypt at God’s direction and declared to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God, let my people go!” Pharaoh had made the Israelites’ lives much harder and their leaders complained to Moses, who then complained to God. “Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23).
David repeatedly expresses His angst to God. “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (Psalm 22:1-2) The Psalms are full of places where David expresses something similar.
Habakkuk saw only violence and destruction when he looked around. The people of Israel were far away from God, and the Babylonians seemed about to take over. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).
Then there’s Mary and Martha. Their brother Lazarus had died, and Jesus hadn’t stopped it. Both of them cried out, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32).
In our language today we might say, Why? Why aren’t You doing anything? Where are You?
Anger is OK
Anger is a human emotion that is part of how we are made in the image of God. God describes Himself as getting angry at evil, when His children hurt each other. Jesus got angry. Anger is a signal that indicates something is not right. And there’s plenty that’s not right in the world and in our own lives!
And when God gets angry He sets about making things right. “The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him” (Isaiah 59:15b-16) Jesus got angry and He healed a man (Mark 3:5).
If God gets angry, if God’s very best friends in Scripture got angry with Him, it must be OK for us to do the same.
There’s a significant difference between shaking your fist at God, demanding He do things in the time and way you dictate, and bringing your anger to Him. That’s what God’s friends in Scripture did with their anger; they brought it to God. All the Scriptures we listed are of God’s friends expressing their deep frustration, pain, anger to Him.
That’s what you do with your anger, including your anger at God.
Bringing Your Anger to God
Many Christians have gotten the idea that somehow you’ve got to get your act together and feel all calm and righteous before you come into God’s presence. That might not have been said explicitly, but your heart has somehow embraced that idea.
But that’s not what these examples from Scripture show.
If you’re a parent, don’t you want your children to bring their angst to you? Think of when your child was (or is) a toddler. They’re upset, really upset. You want them to run into your arms; it honors you when they do. And if they don’t you might pick them up anyway. They may start pounding on your chest with their fists, kicking and screaming. It may take some time for your child to become calm and allow your presence to comfort them.
That’s how we can approach God. It honors Him when we bring our angst to Him, even our anger at Him. His shoulders are big enough to handle it. Your anger won’t make Him turn away or leave you.
So go ahead and express your anger to God. Go outside and yell at the sky. Throw rocks if you need to. Pound your bed with your fists. Let the tears flow. Journal the words you’d like to say to Him. Imagine doing that in God’s presence. Bring your anger to Him.
And then don’t run away. Usually your emotional wave will crest and your internal noise will diminish. When that happens stay in His presence a little longer. As your soul becomes still, that’s when you become able to hear His voice.
A helpful Bible study would be to take the passages of Scripture mentioned above from Exodus, Psalms, Habakkuk, and John, and read the following paragraphs. When God’s best friends bring their anger to Him God says, “Now just watch what I’m going to do.” It will usually be different than you thought you wanted. But He’s still there.
And most of all, God Himself becomes the Answer to your questions. That’s what your soul needs most.
Your Turn: What do you do when you feel angry at God? What might it look like to follow the Biblical examples and bring your anger to Him? Leave a comment below.
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