Anger with God is as old as time. It dates all the way back to Cain and the first human family. (Gen 4:3-7)… From the reading, the indication is that Cain was seeking to come to God on Cain's terms and Abel came to God on God's terms. Abel brought a lamb from his flock and Cain brought the less desirable, picked over fruit of the ground, the work of his hands. God's terms were that they should bring the most pristine, very best of their labors as an offering. "...And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. (Gen 4:4-5) If you have ever responded to suffering and tragedy by raging at God, you’re not alone. Abraham, who was angry at God for His apparent readiness to destroy the innocent people of Sodom, along with those who were guilty, exclaimed these questions to God; "...Would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:23-25)
People tend to become angry with God when they see Him as personally responsible for negative events and when they interpret His intentions as being cruel. Some people see God as ultimately being the One who is responsible when things go wrong. Feelings of abandonment, betrayal or mistreatment, by the hand of God, are common themes in which anger, towards The Maker, is a rudimentary response as written about by Dr. D. W. Ekstrand, adjunct professor of Christian Studies, Theology, and Divinity at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Dr. Ekstrand goes on to note, "people who become angry toward God need to be reassured they are not alone. Religion and spirituality are like any other part of life, which can be challenging as well as rewarding, and anger with God is just one of those struggles." "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved." (Psalm 13:1-4) Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, author and president of CLAL–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership expounds, "anger at God and faith and positive feelings about God are entirely compatible. The notion that belief in God demands calm acceptance of everything that comes our way is simply absurd. Anger at God, dissatisfaction with the state of the world, or the shape of our lives, is not only compatible with faith, it is an act of faith." "I will say to God my Rock, why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me while they say to me all day long, where is your God?" (Psalm 42:9-10)
Pat McCloskey, Catholic priest for nearly 40 years, Franciscan Editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine, the author of three of its monthly columns and editor of four other St. Anthony Messenger Press publications pointedly states, "admit your anger toward God if that’s what you feel." Every human emotion has an important function for people. We can decide not to face an emotion but we cannot stop an emotion from surfacing. We need to see our feelings as being one thing and our behavior, in response to those feelings, as being quite another thing. Feeling angry with God is not bad in and of itself. Once an individual admits feeling angry toward God, he becomes free to see the many ways in which he can express that anger. A person who feels angry with God has several options available to him. He can turn his back on God, he can curse the next person who tells him not to be angry with God, or he can express that anger honestly in prayer and come to terms with it and God.
Many Christians would say "don’t question God or ever get angry with God.” However, that poses the question, is a relationship between two people which is so weak, that it cannot withstand any quarrel or disappointment, worth maintaining? What kind of God is so fragile that a person cannot admit his honest feelings of disappointment, shame, unworthiness, or even anger, to his Lord Jesus Christ? Admitting our anger with God does not destroy faith, rather, it forces us to clarify what we really believe and why. By choosing to deal with our feelings, rather than pretend that they don’t exist, the door is open to experience a more adult faith, ushering in a greater understanding and appreciation of the present moment and of God’s divine providence. People who pray honestly, in anger, have the ability to grow from an adolescent faith into a mature faith which embodies a more transparent, honest, substantially richer and deeply satisfying relationship with God. Moreover, these are the people who are most ready to understand and assist others who are bandaging up life’s physical and/or emotional traumas. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
When a person experiences emotions of anger, frustration, or helplessness deep in his soul, it's imperative to release those toxic feelings to the Lord. "I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble." (Psalm 142:1-2) A man is to take his innermost issues of heart to God and hold nothing back from his divine heavenly Father. God promises that He will satiate the weary soul and replenish every languishing and sorrowful person (Jeremiah 31:25). “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:2-3) Being angry at God doesn't make a person a bad Christian, it intrinsically makes the person human. Anger is a part of human nature and it's how we respond to our anger that makes all the difference. So in considering the scope of the Bible’s teaching on this subject, it's only reasonable to deduce that it is perfectly acceptable to bring all our cares and disappointments to God, including, but not limited to, matters that move us to frustration and/or anger. Conversely, however, we cannot conclude that it is appropriate to approach God in a spirit of complaint or anger levied toward Him. It is never proper to accuse God of wrongdoing. "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it." (Job 38:2,40:2)
God always has our good in mind, growing our faith, making us more like Christ, and fulfilling His plan for our lives. Furthermore, He guarantees that His purposes will ultimately be accomplished in each of His children. "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:30-31) God is immanent in the lives of His people. "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15) God dwells in his children as His holy place or temple. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1 Corinthians 3:16)
When we see our difficulties through the truth of God’s word we begin to see our problems in a different light. Just because we come to Christ for salvation from sin does not mitigate a life with problems. "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). God enables us to have peace within our hearts, minds and souls in spite of the suffering we go through and the storms that rage around us. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
So, as a good Christian, complain, yell, get angry with God, all the while, trusting in Him and yielding your bitterness and pain to Him so your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can bestow on your heart His peace and strength and gracious love to carry you and protect you through any difficult situation life and Satan launch at your mind, heart, or soul. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
Thom Straley - Thom is the Executive Director at Step Seven Ministries & is a certified life coach specializing in addiction recovery and small business growth as Aim Point Coaching. To learn more about Aim Point Coaching, visit Thom's website by clicking the link above!