She was a middle-aged executive assistant who had come to me on the advice of her boss, who was a member of the church I pastored. She didn’t feel comfortable talking with her pastor about this very sensitive family issue.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen to us!” But it had happened, and she was mad.
After a while, I asked this mom, “You’re mad at God, aren’t you?”
“Oh, no, I’m not mad at God,” she replied adamantly.
I just smiled and said, “Yes you are.”
She finally admitted it and said sheepishly, “I’m just afraid of what he’ll do to me if I admit I’m mad at him.”
We both agreed that it was not wise to expect that God doesn’t know when a person is mad at him. She also admitted that it had been months since she had been able to talk to God. This Christian lady was miserable.
I advised her to go home, close up in a room, and tell God exactly how she felt.
She said, “Can I scream and shout?”
“Just be respectful,” I answered. “God is not put off by your anger. Don’t turn away from him because you’re angry, turn to him with your anger.”
She did what I suggested.
I was raised in a generation that was taught that you are not supposed to question God. Where did that come from? Not the Bible. Plenty of people in the Bible, including Jesus, questioned God. I suspect this strange teaching originated among the “everything that happens is God’s will” crowd.
As I write this article, we are only two days removed from the horrific shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. We are only three days removed from the report on clergy abuse in my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Add to these inflation, immigration, supply-chain issues, violence in our streets, and a world gone mad! I’m mad!
I opened my Bible to the book of Habakkuk earlier this week. Habakkuk 1:2–4 are so contemporary that the prophet’s questions could have been mine. “Why, Lord? Where are you? Why don’t you answer?”
Surprisingly, God didn’t strike him with a bolt of lightning! He just lovingly and calmly replied to Habakkuk, “What I’m doing, you wouldn’t believe if you were told. I’ve got this. It’s going to be okay. Thanks for asking.”
Pastor, do you need to get honest with God about how you are feeling?
You’re mad and somewhat hopeless and don’t really know where to turn. The world, your ministry, and life aren’t turning out like you thought they would. You didn’t sign up for this. Deep down, you suspect that your anger is with God. Oh I know, we are the ones who have it all together.
But we know better.
Go to God
Two days after I gave the executive assistant the instruction to close off in a room with God, she called me. She said, “I did what you said, and for the first time in months I’m talking to God and hearing from him! So far, I haven’t gotten the answers to my questions, but I’ve gotten something better. I’ve gotten him!”
I could hear hope in her voice for the first time.
A week or so after her call, a man approached me in a restaurant in our town. I had no idea who he was until he introduced himself. He told me he was the husband of the woman with whom I had met a couple of weeks earlier. “You don’t know me, but I saw you sitting over here and just wanted to say thank you for giving my wife back to me. She’s herself again.”
This lady and Habakkuk both learned a valuable, life-changing lesson. You’re probably going to get angry with God at some point(s).
Admit that you’re mad at God. He knows it already.
Don’t turn away in your anger; turn to him with it. He will welcome you and, though he may not answer all your questions, you’ll find him!
And if you’ll listen closely, you may just hear, “If you only knew what I’m up to, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s always too early to give up on me. I’ve got this.”
I don’t find myself getting angry with God too much anymore. He has never failed me. He is so faithful. I so want my congregation to experience this truth. Walk by faith, not by sight, and never forget what Jesus said: “My Father is always working, and so am I.” See John 5:17.