I wrote this post when I was mad at God. I had just gotten some very bad news, as you will read below, and I was angry at the way His plan was playing out. I’m not angry anymore, but I am sad and very much grieving the way things might have been if MY plan had played out instead of His. I wanted to preface this post with a note that I still don’t know if it’s okay to be angry with God, but I think it is always okay to cry out to him and especially so in times of great emotion. I hope my words below bring peace to you in the difficult situation you’re in.
Friend, are you mad at God? You are not alone. I am mad at Him, too, and you are about to read about other people (in the Bible!) who have been mad at Him, too.
I got bad news today. I don’t want to go into the details of the bad news, but suffice it to say that I was looking forward to something very much, and then I found out at the last minute that it wasn’t going to happen. Not only was the thing I was looking forward to doing not going to happen, but I was going to have to do something else that I didn’t really want to do, possibly for a long time.
I know that God has a plan in this. I know He does. I trust Him. I trust that His plan is bigger and better than my plan, and I trust that He has a reason for what happened.
And I am really, really mad at Him.
I am mad at Him for giving me a desperate longing and no way to fulfill it.
I am mad at Him for giving me hope that my longing would be fulfilled, and then taking that hope away at the last minute.
I am mad at Him for disappointing me, though this goes so far past disappointment that I almost can’t call it that.
I am mad at Him for making me so very sad.
I am mad at Him for making my children so very sad.
In my brain, I can see where the thing I wanted so much might not have worked out perfectly. I can see where it might even have been a disaster, and maybe He is saving me from that. Maybe He has a reason for making me do the thing I don’t want to do. (Maybe? Most certainly He does.)
Maybe He is going to give me the thing my heart longs for after I wait a while. I cling to hope that is the case. I have been reading and journaling through Wait and See to find some encouragement in my wait.
Joe and my friends tell me that my prayers will be answered, although I don’t know if they just want to make me feel better or if they really believe it to be true.
Anyway, I am mad at God, and I only know three things to do in this unfamiliar situation: pray, seek support from other people, and read the Bible.
Prayer is always the answer. Always, always, always. Pray without ceasing, right?
But unfortunately, telling God about my anger did not make me feel better. It didn’t soothe my hurting heart or dry up my bitter tears. It just led me further and further into despair. I felt like I would have to wait for what feels like forever. (More on prayer below.)
Seek Support from Others
So I turned to my husband and a trusted friend. They were earnestly encouraging, but their sentiments didn’t turn my heart from its dark path.
Next, I turned to the Word.
Read the Bible
David was a man who waited. At different times, he felt abandoned by God. He was angry. He was lonely. He didn’t know what the future would hold for him, but he knew he was being hunted by his enemies. He cried out to God to rescue him. He cried out to God when he was sad, lonely, and angry. His words remind me that I’m not alone in these feelings.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relieve. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. -Psalm 22:1-3
O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. -Psalm 3:1-6
How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people. -Psalm 35:17-18
“O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God! -Psalm 42:9-11
One thing to note in the above verses is that David always praised God at the end. He cried out, protested, and then thanked and praised Him for His goodness and mercy. David never ended on a sour note (like I want to).
Job had good reasons to be angry with God; He allowed Satan to torment Job. The enemy took his health, his wealth, and even his precious family. He suffered, alone and in pain. He too cried out to God and even questioned Him. God did not respond very well to these questions.
All of Job 3 is a lament from Job, but a few specific verses stand out:
“Oh, why give light to those in misery, and life to those who are bitter? They long for death, and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure.” -Job 3:20-21
“Why is life given to those with no future, those God has surrounded with difficulties? I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes.” -Job 3:23-26
My situation is nothing compared to what Job endured, but his sentiments still ring true for me.
I’m not going to debate whether it is a sin to be angry with God. I don’t know the answer, and people smarter than me don’t know the answer either.
Anger and bitterness are two noticeable signs of being focused on self and not trusting God’s sovereignty in your life. When you believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who belong to Him and love Him, you can respond to trials with joy instead of anger or bitterness. -John C. Boger
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. -Psalms 37:8
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. -Proverbs 14:29
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. -Proverbs 19:11
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. -Ecclesiastes 7:9
But I do know that I felt better when I confessed my anger in prayer (which was different than my original prayer telling God about my anger) and then asked Him to lift it from my shoulders.
Oh Lord. I have been angry with you, and I am ready to be done with it. I am sorry, Lord. I know you know better than me what is best, and I know you have only the best in store for me. I want to trust you. I want to believe in your promises. Help me Lord. Come alongside me and lift me up as only You can. Be the shield around me and lift my head high. I give you great thanks, Lord, for all the wonderful things you’ve done for me and all the blessings yet to come. I praise your holy name now and for ever.
He did lift the weight from my shoulders.
I’m not saying that I don’t still feel like crying over the whole thing. I do. I’m not going to say that I’m not hurt. I am. But I can now see with a little more clarity that God’s plan is for my good, and the thing that I wanted so desperately wasn’t the right thing for me right now.
Can you get to that place after having read the verses above and prayed the prayer? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Maybe you will need to pray more or talk with your pastor or study more verses. Maybe you need to confide in a trusted friend or journal (seriously, writing this post was exactly what my raw emotions needed).
My point in all these suggestions is that you can’t wallow in your anger at God. You can’t let it fester and work at you until you no longer trust Him or want to spend time with Him or grow in your relationship with Him.
He always has a plan, friend, and it is always for good. You have to believe that.
Let’s end with one more prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and from the one and only King David (adapted from 1 Chronicles 17:16-27).
Heavenly Father, I am not worthy of what you have already done for me. Yet now you are doing even more; you have made promises to me, and you are already treating me like someone great. What more can I say to you? You know me well, and yet you honor me. Lord, there is none like you; I have always known that you along are God. Thank you Lord for everything.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
© 2016, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.