Sometimes life hurts. And when we hurt, the natural response is anger. When another person is responsible for our pain, our anger turns toward the one who has injured us. But sometimes there’s no clear culprit in our suffering. At those times, it’s natural to place the blame on the One we know is in control of everything. And so we unleash our anger on God.
Can we blame the young woman of bitter feelings when she finds herself experiencing her third miscarriage in fifteen months? Can we blame the parents for their profound anger toward God when they learn that their baby boy has Down syndrome? How can the elderly man not blame God when he discovers that he has Parkinson’s disease? Can we blame the victim of a horrible car accident or a cruel rape for lashing out at a God who seems not to care?
Let me remind you of some very important truths when you are angry with God.
After you blame God for all your suffering, don’t forget to thank him for all his goodness.
I have been asked more times than I care to recall, “If God is good why does he allow _______? Human suffering? Half of the world’s population to starve? Countless babies to be born with severe birth defects? A young father to accidentally run over and crush his two-year-old child while backing out of the driveway?
I’ve been tempted to respond to that question with a question of mine own. “If God is mean why does he give ______?” If God is mean why does he give us a healthy body? A warm bed to sleep in and a roof over our head? A job? Life, even though we are jealous, envious, and spiteful? A son or a daughter who loves us no matter what?
Skeptics often ask, “If God is good explain to me how there can be so much evil in the world.” Ask the skeptic, “If God is so mean explain to me how there can be so much good in the world.”
Don’t get mad at God because he doesn’t do what you want him to do.
Too often we treat God like a pit-bull attack dog. When we see someone or something that’s not to our liking we say to God, “Sic ‘em.” God doesn’t work that way. And, by the way, what gives us the right to think that we can use God as our secret militia to stamp out anyone and everything that does not operate to our standards or specifications? Until we become all knowing and all-powerful, until we can balance grace and justice, then we should resign as chief warden of our little universe.
Too often we want comfort while God wants us miserable.
Would it surprise you, then, for me to say that there are times when God wants us to be miserable? Yes, God is a God of comfort. He comes into our lives to bring comfort and joy and peace and happiness. But, there are those times when God comes to bring discomfort. To issue us a wake-up call. To move us out of complacency. To stretch us. To challenge our comfort zones. To help us see beyond the walls of our measly existence. To break down the barriers we erect because of our prejudices and hate. This was brought home to me once again, when I read, “Counselors are trying to make many people comfortable whom God is trying to make miserable.”
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
While you desire judgment and destruction, God demonstrates mercy and forgiveness.
God is a God of grace. Time and time again, God has displayed his unmerited favor and love upon us. And all the while, we deserve judgment and punishment. So, the next time the angry erupts, remember that we deserve judgment, but God grants mercy.
A young mother who lost a baby said, “We still don’t have all the answers, but we’re working it through. Our anger and pain have gradually been replaced by his peace.”
We all experience tragedy. How we respond to God during suffering will, to a large degree, determine if we will emerge from that crisis weakened or strengthened. When life hurts, we have two choices. We can become bitter at God or better with God. We can build barriers between God and ourselves or build bridges to a deeper relationship with a loving and caring God.
The choice is ours.
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