Angry with God

It’s not me who’s angry with God, but in a chapter I read this week, The Gospel According to Job talks about the importance of being free to feel and express anger with God. Mike Mason says,

Clearly, anger at God can be a sign of spiritual growth. It can mean we are outgrowing a concept of God that is no longer adequate for us. It could even be said that our anger is directed not at the living God Himself but at our own idolatrous concept of Him… At the very least, anger means that we are taking God seriously and treating Him as a real person – real enough to arouse our passions.

I think this is at least as important for believers¬† to learn as turning the other cheek. It’s difficult because the very nature of being angry usually means assuming we’re in the right against whoever we’re angry with, and with God that’s not likely to be the case. But repressing real anger only concentrates it, and if we’re not willing to express it to God then he only knows what direction it will eventually come spewing out.

If I conceive of God as a genie in the sky, then I’ll be justifiably upset when he doesn’t grant my wishes; if I conceive of God as a moral scorekeeper, then I’ll be rightfully mad when less deserving people succeed in life. Ultimately, I believe that God is just and good and strong, but I also know there are situations that make me question that, and if I’m not willing to question Him I won’t ever have a chance to understand anything outside of the limited framework I have to sustain my faith.

For me, the flip side of lashing out at God is the temptation to simply dismiss what I don’t understand and say, “well, God is mysterious and bigger than us, and it’s just too hard to figure out.” This is dangerous because… well, it’s true! But to have a relationship with someone means to learn about them, to question them, to work at understanding them. Even in our relationships with people, I don’t think most of us aim for total and complete understanding, but we don’t gloss over misunderstandings with people we love the most, and I don’t think we should do it with God. If we were on our own trying to make sense of God, it would be hopeless, but he has initiated the whole relationship process, revealed himself through Jesus and Scripture and in personal ways that are unique to each of us, and if that isn’t enough to earn our honesty when it comes to dealing with him, I don’t know what is.

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Comments

Susan 07-07-2012, 11:07

Good thoughts, Alyssa! I agree completely with Mike Mason regarding our anger actually being toward our own idolatrous concept/image of Him. But when you made the connection about the danger of dismissing what I don’t understand… that hit home. If the relationship is important, we’re motivated to work through the differences. This is a good thought for me today. Thanks.

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Alyssa 08-07-2012, 19:33

Thanks for the comment! Dismissing what I don’t understand is definitely the trap I fall into more than getting angry and hashing things out… not good!

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