Mad At God?
Philip Yancey wrote a book entitled, Disappointment With God. It was an honest and helpful volume for those who have experienced emotional let-down in their relationship with God. I think it is difficult for God’s people to admit that they have been disappointed with God at times in their lives. After all, we know that God is flawless in all His attributes and in all His ways. We understand, on a certain level, that to find fault with God is, of course, forbidden to us. But there are those experiences which may blindside us…trials of an extreme nature…losses we are unable to calculate and process…pressures that don’t seem to let up for extended periods…persistent questions and prayers that seem to go unanswered …injustices that loom with no fixes in sight…all of these and more may lead us to feel, not only disappointment, but outright anger with God. Why would He do…or not do…this or that…which seems so clearly called for to us? Am I sinning if I am mad at God?
In the comfort of my office and at a time when I am unaware of any truly critical matters affecting my sense of well-being or that of my family, it is easy, in a sense, to write on this subject. But it is a whole different matter in a crisis. I’d like to make a couple of suggestions. First, God emotions into us, and we ought not be surprised that we express them. It is not sinful to have emotions…and within limits, it is not sinful to express them. When words flow out of pain, certain allowances ought to be made. When the Old Testament patriarch, Job, was under extreme pressure, having lost his great wealth, having lost his health, and, worst of all, having lost all of his ten children, all within a short amount of time…he made rash statements. God seems to have taken into account the severe circumstances Job was enduring and didn’t take him to task for all his emotional outbursts. In fact, he credits Job with speaking rightly about Him. He does fault Job for maintaining his own righteousness at the expense of God’s. We’d be making a serious mistake, if we read Job’s book and came away thinking we could berate God without consequence whenever we suffer a hangnail. That is not the point!
There are all kinds of pains. And when a Christian is in the fiery furnace of affliction, words may pour forth that aren’t strictly true, but they feel true to the sufferer. The Psalmists sometimes felt overlooked or forsaken by God. They were angry and impatient about it when the heat was turned up on them. But God allowed them to express their pain. And much of this is recorded by inspiration in the Scriptures. And God reasoned with them (and by extension, with us) and led them to faith’s victory (although He did not always alter the difficult circumstances). Jonah got mad at God and became fish food! Job got mad at God, and in the end, was blessed more at the end of his life than he was in the opening chapter of his book. I think we should try to be honest with our emotions. Admit we feel however we feel, but do our best not to allow emotions to come between us and the God Who gave us those emotions.