I literally do not think I’ve ever been mad at God.
I mean, for starters, I’ve had a pretty good, safe life with lots of privilege. I haven’t experienced trauma or tragedy.
When it’s come to big questions of the universe or small questions of my life, I’ve always just defaulted to trust that God has a plan and loves me and is in control.
But very recently I’ve finally decided to face a personal struggle head on. Off and on in the past nearly four years of wrestling with the why, I’ve found myself tugged to view it as an injustice towards me. I start towards the whiny kid stage of “It’s just not fair!”
Mostly I’ve shrugged the feeling off – or buried it – and tried to just move on.
Facing the Scary Feelings
Now, while facing it head on, I can’t help but confront the feeling that it’s just not fair; that something’s not right and I’m the victim of an injustice.
In the past week, I’ve verbalized out loud that I’m mad at God.
It was almost hard to admit. I mean: Am I really? I never have been before. That seems extreme. Are you sure about this? Is it a sin to be mad at God? He’s supposed to be able to deal with our emotions then sort it out right? I mean, that’s what I’ve told everyone else before.
I won’t go so far as to say I’ve never been mad at God. But I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve realized it and verbalized it.
I literally said, “Isn’t God supposed to rescue his people who are faithful? I feel like it’s about time he fixes this!”
The day after I said it out loud for the first time, I woke up, started doing my morning quiet time with God, and was secretly hoping in the back of my mind that God would give me an answer – show me how he was going to fix it.
I got this:
“…It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory…. I gave you towns you did not build – the towns where you are not living…. So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly…” Joshua 24:12-14, NLT
I didn’t know why, but I highlighted it. I finished the rest of my reading plan for the day, then reviewed my highlights to pick one to journal on. For some reason I kept coming back to this passage.
I went to write in my journal after copying the scripture and honestly did not know where to start. I literally have a whole line crossed out because I started writing one thing I thought God meant by it, then had to correct myself to the opposite meaning:
Observation: Sometimes God gives us things all by his own power. Right before this, we read of him winning battles for the Israelites, but they were still men on the ground. God guided men and set them up for wins. His power won the battles through his people moving and obeying.
Application: God can do everything on his own if he wanted, but he usually, if not always, chooses to use his power through his people. I need to do things through the Holy Spirit and learn to lean on his power and guidance instead of trying to do it all on my own.
It felt like an answer. I shared with my husband then closed my journal and didn’t give it a second thought.
How to Be Rescued
On our way back home that night, I cried to Kyle in the car, once again saying, “I’m tired of reading all these psalms about God rescuing his people and I’m just here lost and confused! How much longer am I supposed to deal with this? When is he going to rescue me? When will I get answers?”
Then this morning, I pulled out my Bible and my journal, once again secretly hoping for answers.
“I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in the trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” Psalm 91:14-15, NLT
Observation: This seems to be one of God’s “if-then” promises: “If you love me, trust me, and call on me, then I will rescue you, protect you, answer you, be with you, and honor you.”
Application: I need to know God more so I can love and trust him more, then I will actually and truly call on him more. My expectations for him to rescue me “just because” are unfounded – it’s not part of the deal. But he does say if I love, trust, and call to him, he will help me.
I titled that entry “How to Be Rescued.”
Being Honest with Myself
If I’m honest, I haven’t really been loving God well lately.
Sure, I read my Bible out of duty or in empty hopes that reading alone will transform my life. I go to church, let the worship dance with my emotions and take avid notes during sermons only to be saved in the darkness of my phone, never to be noticed again.
But I don’t seek out time with God like I do with a dear friend or a valued relationship. I don’t intentionally twist my schedule to make time to meet with Him, or spend the time we do have earnestly trying to engage him and get to know who he is.
I’ve lost the fire in the midst of my pain and confusion. To some extent, even though I’m going through the motions, I’ve lost hope.
So for me, this time, being angry at God is what I needed to drive me back to him. Being angry at God was the push I needed to send me honestly searching for answers. Being angry with God was the wake up call I needed to light a new flame.
Just like when I get angry at Kyle, he chases me down even harder to make sure the problem is understood and gets fixed; my anger at God opened me up to being more receptive to a God who was knocking on the door this entire time.