Recently I said those words to a group of people: “It is never, ever, right to be angry with God.” As I looked out on the people there was an incredulous look on many faces. This was not landing well. Clearly many did not agree with the statement. This was confirmed in a question and answer time, when one scholar asked from a microphone, “Would you say something more about not being angry with God? Did you mean to say that it is never right to be angry with God?”
My answer was, “Yes, that is what I said. But perhaps you are stumbling over something you think I said which I didn’t say. So let me add this: If you are angry with God, it is never right not to tell him so.” This made some people scratch their heads again and look more puzzled. It puzzled me that they were puzzled. So I said it again another way: “If you are sinning by being angry with God, don’t compound the sin by hypocrisy.” The perplexity stayed on many faces. So I said it again: “If you sin by being angry with God, don’t add to it the sin of trying to conceal it from him. That would double the offense.”
When I told them the catalogue of problems that had occurred in my life over a few years, people started to joke that my middle name was Job. Thankfully, my life was nowhere near as bad as Job’s – who lost three daughters, seven sons, a number of servants and a huge amount of livestock, then was struck down with sores all over his body. But though we may not have had it that tough, we may still be able to recognize Job’s predicament: faced with intense suffering he didn’t want to turn his back on God, but he also couldn’t pretend that everything was OK
When pain comes our way it’s natural that we’re angry about it, but we’re often left confused over what to do with that anger. After I faced a series relationship issue, I was left furious and was not able to think what to do and what not to with myself. I thought the good Christian thing to do was push those feelings aside as soon as they reared their head, but they refused to go away. I spent many days feeling so furious that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I would imagine picking up objects and hurling them at the wall but then would immediately feel guilty. I was struggling to balance my life and clearly trying to ignore my anger wasn’t working.
My entire life I have performed to define myself worth, to gain the acceptance of others and to be loved by God.I found it very difficult to accept what went wrong. It might have made me look good on the outside, but I was a mess on the inside.When my life played the game, I ultimately blamed God for it.
Most young guys who have relationship issues to some degree, ultimately blame God for it. My anger has lasted much longer and negatively affected my relationship with God. I’ve thought a lot about why I’ve been so angry and I believe it comes down to this:
- Life did not turn out the way I wanted it to.
- God was not who I thought He was.
In both instances, I couldn’t control the uncontrollable.
Although, my life is blessed in many ways, it has been much harder than I wanted it to be. Experiencing my life out of control was paralyzing and I felt totally helpless.
Breakup totally devastated me and there was nothing I could do to fix or change it. For the first time, I was experiencing the utterly chaotic random brutality that life can be.
I feel like I’ve been in a fight with God for so many years. I’ve been fighting against the injustice and fighting against the reality of living in a world. This was not a fight I chose, but it wasn’t one I was willing to walk away from without giving it everything I had.
It has taken years but I have, ironically, found that I’m thankful to find out God isn’t who I thought He was. It may have been a painful journey to get to this realization, but I’m thankful I don’t have the same theology I did before. I no longer believe God caused or orchestrated the events that led to breakup.
For a year my emotions toward God could have been described as angry, feeling abandoned, disgusted, apathetic and desperate.
I hope one day I replace all of those with feelings of peace, love and trust.
All along, there has been a sliver of hope inside me that I would one day be able to not only say but actually believe in my heart that God is not against me.
I want to believe that God has been with me throughout the years holding me and even He’s been crying every tear with me.
When we feel hurt and angry we can either bring this before God and stay connected to him, or turn away from him and begin to let our relationship drift or be severed completely. I raged, protested, moaned and groaned, swinging between faith and despair, but I never gave up. I chose to trust that there was an answer even I didn’t know it. After I met a Messenger of God, I repented ( Job 42:5-6). His encounter with God brought him back to his knees where he could let go of his anger, bitterness and pain.
This is the God who I have hope in and the one I believe loves me even in the midst of the doubts I still have.
Each day I work on shedding this hard shell of bitterness and cynicism I built to protect myself. I’m living in a space between faith and doubt that feels wider than the universe.
May Almighty God give us the capacity to be in solidarity with those who are suffering, to act with justice, and to walk the most challenging of journeys, believing ultimately in Resurrection.
Your Servant In Lord
Lino Varghese Abraham