No one gets mad at God for silly reasons, such as, “I wish I had brown hair instead of blonde.” When we’re angry with God, we’ve faced some immensely hard things in life. We often hesitate to talk about how we feel with fellow Christians because we’re afraid they’ll “take God’s side.” Honestly, we don’t want to be right (we’re miserable how we feel), but we do want to be heard.
Being angry at God reveals something very good about you. It reveals that God is important to you. We don’t get and stay angry at inconsequential people in our lives. They don’t matter enough to be “sticky” in our minds. Often, we wish we cared less about God because we intuitively know it would abate the disruption we feel. But it is hard to care less about someone as significant as God.
So, in these opening two paragraphs, we’ve established two things:
- You are hurting.
- God is important to you.
If you feel safe acknowledging those two things, that opens a significant number of possibilities. Don’t feel rushed by the “if.” As you read through this series, if it starts to feel like too much ground is being covered too fast, then pause. If you were rehabbing an ankle injury and had a sharp pain, you would take a break. Same thing here. The goal is recovery. The pace of recovery is determined by what facilitates that goal best.
To help orient you to the journey ahead, here is a simple summary of the key content we will cover in this series.
- Anger with God is usually in response to profoundly painful events.
- A healthy response to profoundly painful events involves grief, and anger is an often-overlooked part of grieving.
- Grief-anger is morally different from selfish-anger; it calls for comfort, not repentance.
- When we feel like God is condemning us for grief-anger, we feel doubly far from God: first, because of the pain, and second, by the belief that God is insensitively rejecting us.
- The invitation of this series is to get angry WITH God rather than AT God; that is, to realize God wants to come alongside you in comfort. The goal is for you to realize God is a trusted friend empathizing with your anger in the hardness of life, rather than the friend-turned-enemy who is the object of your anger.
- Accepting this invitation will require courage on your part, the courage to be vulnerable again.
- God is a good shepherd who is patient and willing to move at the pace of his sheep and can be trusted in places that merit the name “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23)
I want this series to patiently walk with you through the process of being honest about your pain with God (and hopefully a Christian friend or two) and, thereby, find your relationship with God restored. I hope prayer becomes more authentic and honest as a result of this journey. I hope your friendship with God (Exodus 33:11) is actually stronger because of the strain you and God navigated together.
If that happens, please realize, you don’t have to call your pain “good” or even “worth it.” God doesn’t ask us to relabel “evil” as “good” simply because he accomplishes something redemptive through it. God’s work can be redeeming and your vulnerable perseverance heroic and the hardship that prompted it still be bad.
With that said, here is the outline for our journey together.
- Section One: It’s Safe to Talk About
- Section Two: Articulating the Pain
- Section Three: Responding to the Interferences
- Section Four: Processing the Pain
- Section Five: Worshipping Again
- Creation: Why “Good” Expectations Exist (link to be added when article is posted)
- Fall: Why “Good” Expectations Hurt (link to be added when article is posted)
- Redemption: An Answer… Sort Of (link to be added when article is posted)
- Sanctification: A Messy Journey in a Broken World (link to be added when article is posted)
- Glorification: Finally, A Place of Rest (link to be added when article is posted)
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
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