I’ve been angry before – plenty of times. I’m human. But this time was different. I wasn’t outwardly angry with anyone. I was angry on the inside. The kind of angry that makes you physically sick because you are ashamed of it. So you suppress it and try to hide it from God. I know what you’re thinking. God knows all, so sister you aren’t fooling Him one bit. Yes I know that. But I was so ashamed to outwardly tell Him what He already knew – that I was angry with Him.
I hated the circumstances. I hated the diagnosis. I hated that once again our family was dealing with a trial. We have gone through marital issues, infertility, polycystic kidney disease, lupus, heart disease, and now the beast of cancer. I hated that my mom had breast cancer. And I was furious at God for allowing this. I wallowed in it. I wrestled with it several days and nights because I refused to do the un-churchy thing and tell Him how I felt.
Why is it that Christians think they aren’t allowed to be angry with God? Is it that we think we are any less human than the rest of the world? I don’t think that’s it. Somewhere along the way, I think Christians have told one anther that being angry is sinful. So then being angry with God is certainly more sinful than being angry with one another. That’s how we rationalize it. But what happens is we bury it in darkness instead of bringing it into the light. That’s where satan loves for us to keep things – in total darkness. Why? Because that’s where he lives. Then he can tack on other emotions like guilt and shame onto those already writing emotions. We have bought into religion instead of the truth from God’s word. We think we aren’t being “good Christians.”
Do you remember the story of Jonah in the Bible? I think we can all answer with a resounding yes to that. It’s a favorite Bible story for many of us as children. But there’s a part of the story that we (or at least I have missed in my nearly 40 years of existence). Here’s what Billy Graham had to say about Jonah:
Well I became like Jonah and I told God just exactly how I felt. I wasn’t pretty with my words. In fact, I’m sure I said things that were downright not lady like (especially here in the South). I crawled right up into His lap and I told Him face to face with a clinched fist how angry I was at Him. My face felt buried in His chest and it was hard to breathe.
“Isn’t Lupus enough for my mom?”
“Why do we have to go through yet another trial?”
“Haven’t we proven our faith enough already without it being tested again?”
“If you really love us then why would you put us through so much pain?”
They weren’t just questions. I was yelling at Him. It was a release of all the ugly that was trying to stay in the darkest parts of my soul into His light. I didn’t feel shame or guilt. I felt love and gentle correction. Then I wept as I felt Him wrap His arms around me. He whispered that He still loves me and He knew that I was angry, but that He was my Father and He is with me. He will not forsake me even on the days that I’m angry with Him. He gives me so much more than I deserve. He gives me grace. And I turned my eyes from me and we, to Him.
“Mommy, I kind of broke one of your angels so I hid it so you wouldn’t see it and get angry with me.” The thing is I wasn’t the least bit angry. I was so proud of his conviction and for telling me the truth. I reassured him that nothing he could do would make me not love him. I want him to always be able to tell me the truth. The relief on his face was undeniable. Right there in that simple little confession from our son, I saw exactly what God sees in me when I confess my sins to Him. His love is unconditional for me too. And what a relief it is when I come to Him and release it all at His feet.
Life won’t always go the way that we want it to. We need to remember that even when we are angry with God, He still loves us and yearns for us to return to Him. It’s called repentance and it’s an essential part of the Christian life. And He wants us to turn to Him, and not the world, for comfort and encouragement when we need it. Anger, even with God, is not a sin. But harboring that anger and not bringing it out of the darkness into His light is.
Most importantly God sent his only Son into this world to die for us. He bore every one of our sins on that cross. Then he rose again so that we could have a personal relationship with Him. We can go to Him, our Father, when we are feeling sad, hurt, and angry. We have to put our life in His hands and then learn to trust Him even when it’s hard.