Have you ever been mad at God? Before you give a self-righteous answer, let’s be really honest. Has God ever disappointed you?
I’ve been mad. God disappointed me. I decided following God was a waste of time and energy. I decided that I could be a part-time follower of Christ like a large part of the American culture, going to church on Sunday and indulging in the sinful nature throughout the week. I made the decision that God’s way didn’t work out so well.
You see, twenty years ago God brought a man into my life. It was not love at first sight, but it was a love born out of a commitment to Christ. It was a slow progression in which we both saw God at work. It was a love that came from a friendship centered on a love for Christ. After much prayer and seeing God’s hand in every circumstance, we stood before God and man and committed to love each other, to forsake all others.
Fifteen years later, he broke those vows. He walked into the arms of another woman, leaving me hurt and betrayed. But, I knew that God was the healer of all things. I chose to forgive, to allow God to take this hurt and humiliation and use our marriage as a testimony of His restoring power.
But, my offer of forgiveness was rejected. My heart was trampled again. My life collapsed around me, and I suddenly found myself a single mom of three kids, struggling to survive. I was treading water with every ounce of energy I could muster, but I could barely keep my nose above the water.
And, I was angry with God. Why would He tell me to marry this man if He knew I would eventually be betrayed? I could have chosen a man on my own, and it couldn’t have turned out much worse than His way! Why should I continue to serve God if the results of my obedience were hurt and betrayal? I thought blessings came to those who walked obediently before God!
With those questions swirling through my mind, I decided to do life my way. I would continue going to church, but I would live on my terms. I ran straight into the arms of another man—an incredibly funny, attractive, successful man who was experiencing the exact same hurt and pain as me. It was so good to laugh again, to hear that I was beautiful, to feel special. But, there was a still small voice beckoning me. The more I turned to this man, the louder the voice became.
“Get your security from me,” it whispered, day after day.
The harder I ran, the louder the voice became. The more I tried to escape, the more relentless the voice became. I couldn’t outrun the voice. It was chasing me down, pursuing me, fighting for my affections. The voice was doing everything I had once begged my husband to do—and it wouldn’t relent!
Finally, the relationship with this man fell apart. I could no longer fight the voice calling me to return. I threw up my arms in surrender, knowing that God had caught me. I realized that at the core of my being—my very foundation for life—was my relationship with Jesus Christ.
As I look back on those days of anger with God, they have become some of my sweetest memories. When I was unlovable, He was more than loving. When I was unfaithful, He was still there. When I ran away, He left the flock and came looking for me—the one lost sheep (Matthew 18:11-13). When I needed someone to fight for me, He pursued me relentlessly. And, when I—the prodigal daughter—returned home, He was waiting with outstretched arms (Luke 15).
I’ve often heard people say that we shouldn’t ask God why things happen, but we should simply trust Him. I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t be angry with God or disappointed in Him. Let’s start by saying we are human. Those are emotions that God gave us!
Have you read the Psalms? Repeatedly, David—the man after God’s own heart–cries out to God asking, “Why?”
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? Psalm 22:1
Or, what about Job? Didn’t he complain to God about the injustice of having everything taken away from him?
Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Job 7:11
What about Jesus? Didn’t even Jesus experience the same emotions?
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Mark 15:34
Do you hear Jesus’s words on the cross? Why have you forsaken me? That’s exactly what I was crying out to God! I was experiencing pain so immense I couldn’t bear it! I felt completely forsaken by God—betrayed. I felt as if He had failed me, broken His promise of blessings for obedience.
And I couldn’t keep silent! I cried out against Him. I complained against Him. I ran from Him.
What was the result of my anger? Here I am years later. I have experienced God’s restoration in my life. He has lifted me from the pits of despair and given me a new heart, a new love, a deeper faith. I can say with Job that before these trials came upon me, I had only heard of God—but now I have met Him face-to-face (Job 42:5).
I have met the Great I Am—stood on holy ground in His presence! When I was in need, He said, “I am Jehovah Jireh, your provider.” When I was hurt, He said, “I am your healer.” When I was lonely, He said, “I am your friend.” No matter what my need, He says, “I am…”
And, I stand in awe of who God is, of what He does through times of trial. I walk forward each day with a stronger faith, a new level of trust in God. When faced with new trials, I can more easily accept them knowing that I see in part, that His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9). I can say with confidence that He will make all things work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
Are you angry with God? Let Him have it! And then, let Him love you right back into His presence!