Thursday, February 12, 2009

Angry at God?

A question I have asked myself for some time is: Is it okay to be angry at God? I've read various answers, but I finally found one that satisfies me that it conforms to scripture. Here it is, from Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges:

"I have encountered a number of Christians who are angry at God for some reason. Some of them think that God has let them down in some way; others feel that God is actually against them. I sit here now looking at a letter in which the writer says, 'I have felt so many times that He has slapped me in the face when I was really depending on Him.' This person freely admitted to being angry at God, because she had concluded that God was actually against her.

What are we to say to people who are desperately hurting and feel that God has let them down or is even against them? Is it okay to be angry toward God? Most pop psychology would answer yes. 'Just vent your feelings toward God.' I've even read the statement, 'It's okay to be angry at God. He's a big boy. He can handle it.' In my judgment, that is sheer blasphemy.

Let me make a statement loud and clear. It is never okay to be angry at God. Anger is a moral judgment, and in the case of God, it accuses Him of wrongdoing. It accuses God of sinning against us by neglecting us or in some way treating us unfairly. It also is often a response to our thinking that God owes us a better deal in life than we are getting. As a result, we put God in the dock of our own courtroom. I think of a man who, as his mother was dying of cancer, said, 'After all she's done for God, this is the thanks she gets.' Never mind that Jesus suffered untold agony to pay for her sins so she would not spend eternity in hell, this man thought that God also owed her a better life on this earth.

I acknowledge that believers can and do have momentary flashes of anger at God. I have experienced this myself. But we should quickly recognize those occurrences as the sins that they are and repent of them.

How, then, can we deal with our temptation to be angry at God? Must we just 'stuff' our feelings and live in some degree of alienation from God? No, that is not the biblical solution. The answer a well-grounded trust in the sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God. Second, we should bring our confusion and perplexity to God in a humble, trusting way."

I remember, as a 3 year-old Christian, being VERY angry with God for sending Greg to Korea for a year. I had Paul, and was 3 months pregnant with Dan. How I railed on God! I ended up asking His forgiveness and making my peace with it, and God gave me one of the best, albeit most painful, years of my Christian life. I learned lessons that year that I couldn't have learned with Greg around. He changed me that year. And I needed it desperately. And He protected me and provided for me in wondrous ways. And He kept Greg safe and pure in Korea, which, in man's eyes, is a HUGE accomplishment! I never would have chosen it for myself, but God, who knows the end from the beginning, and loves me with an incomprehensible and undeserved love, knew what I needed, and sent me this trial. "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."--Psalm 119:74


sarahdodson said...

This is my 2nd time to try to comment; it'd BETTER work this time!

Ok, I also liked what Jerry had to say on the subject. Excellent book-Thanks for sharing it with me. It seems like even if people don't come out and say, I'm angry with God!, that they live their lives like they are. very sad. not good.

Love you lots!

Heather said...

Thanks for that. His writing is straightforward and clear. I think I might have to read that book; sounds like a good read.

Marie said...

Hi Vivian!

Hey, we are doing "Respectable Sins" in our Bible Study, and I just reviewed it recently on my blog! Yes, this quote on the subject of being angry at God jumped out at me too (not that I recall being angry at God, though I'm often indifferent to Him), because it is sound doctrinally. Recently, I've been doing much research into "Christian" psychology, and one of the crazy, humanistic ideas they promote is that it's somehow ok to be angry at God - even encouraging you to "forgive God". Jay Adams takes these writers to task in "From Forgiven to Forgiving".

Anyway, Great blog!