Angry at God?

Over lunch a while back, a friend asked if I was angry at God.

Close loved ones are going through trials that, while mostly not immediately life threatening, are a mixture of exhausting, sad, frustrating, uncertain, overwhelming and stressful. These things are not happening directly to me, but they are directly affecting me in ways that bear some of the same results.

As I told my friend, anger isn’t my go-to emotion when I’m confronted with difficult or seemingly unfair situations. When I react negatively, it usually looks more like anxiety or worry.

But whether my response is worry, anger or something else entirely, one thing is sure. What I think influences how I feel. And when I find myself veering off into the emotional morass of the whys or the what-ifs, what I believe about God is my anchor.

What is true about God doesn’t change according to my circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. My name is engraved on the palm of His hand. He loves me with an everlasting love. He goes before me and is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

These are truths, not clichés. They are not metaphorically hidden in the pages of scripture. They are spelled out clearly and plainly.

So who am I to think that God’s love ceases to apply to me when something in my life goes wrong? Am I the exception to His promises, His truth, His sovereignty? When trials come, as He explicitly promised they would, does His character bypass me or my loved ones?

These are rhetorical questions, of course, but they are worth considering. Worth answering honestly.

The heart of the matter is this. God is entirely who He says He is all the time, or He isn’t who He says He is at all. It’s that simple, and also that mind-blowing.

This is the essence of faith, I think. Fiercely clinging to the truth about God—to what the Bible says about His character and His ways—no matter what. No matter how I feel. No matter what someone else does or says. No matter what is happening to people I love. No matter how long it takes God to act on their behalf, or mine, if He chooses to act at all.

These are not the words of someone who thinks more highly of herself and her faith than she ought. Trust me—I’ve got my own ugly batch of shortcomings and weaknesses, and there are plenty of times when I feel like I’m one step away from complete disaster.

But God—now He is infinitely faithful and trustworthy. He cannot lie, He cannot fail, He cannot cease to be who He is. I’m holding fast to that, and it is informing how I feel about what is happening around me.

Here’s the thing. When people hurt us or bad things happen and our human minds struggle to reconcile what we’re experiencing or witnessing with what we believe, it’s natural to respond with doubt, fear, anger or disappointment. After a time, though, these attitudes can take up so much room in our minds or appear so insurmountable that we start to imagine even God’s grace can’t overcome them.

Maybe we don’t even want it to, if we get right down to it.  Maybe sticking with our doubt, our anger or our fear feels safer and more comfortable than throwing our lot wholeheartedly with the God who has somehow not lived up to our expectations.

But our feelings—about God or our circumstances—don’t change who He is. They don’t negate the work His Son did on the cross for us. They don’t remove us from His family.

As I read through the Bible and write down the names of God, I’m starting to notice how often He is referred to in terms of His protection for us. He’s our rock, the stronghold of our life, our strength, our shield, the mountain where we seek refuge and so on.

It occurs to me that, in addition to all the external enemies God protects us from, He also stands ready to save us from our feelings. The deeply entrenched disillusionment caused by the bad choices of other people. The periods of anger that stem from the circumstances we don’t understand. The forehead-pinching worry about how that next procedure is going to turn out. The fear of what lies ahead that keeps us awake all hours of the night.

All that and more.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of allowing all these feelings—as real and valid as they may be—to control my mind and heart. One by one, day by day, I’m attempting to cast them at the feet of Jesus—the only One who has any power to do anything about them anyway.

So, in answer to my friend’s question, no, I’m not angry at God. But if I ever am, He’ll be the first to know about it.

God is entirely who He says He is all the time, or He isn’t who He says He is at all. Click To Tweet

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Salt & LightPurposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday and Grace & Truth.

28 Responses to Angry at God?

  1. Helene says:

    I have a friend who’s really angry at God right now. Thank you for these good words. The constancy of God’s character is powerfully important for us to understand.

  2. Christa says:

    Well, that steps on my feet a little bit. I want God to be who I want Him to be … sometimes not who he is and always will be.

  3. Linda Stoll says:

    You wrestle with some big stuff, Lois. Significant. Be sure that those who are reading their post sigh with relief knowing that they’re not the only ones.

    The ‘angry at God’ question is the one I sometimes ask my clients. Their eyes fill, they are released, they are healed.

    Thank you for being a healer of women, friend.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Wow, Linda … it’s amazing what a powerful effect that one little question can have! Thank you for sharing this here … your words were an encouragement to my heart this past weekend!

  4. “It occurs to me that, in addition to all the external enemies God protects us from, He also stands ready to save us from our feelings.” Yes, thank you Lord! I’m so glad He doesn’t leave us alone to our wayward, changing feelings. But God remains the same–no matter what we feel or what happens in life. He remains good. Lois, this was such a powerful post. God bless you!

  5. I’ve said this before, I may not know what God is doing, but I know that He is God. I’m a feelings gal too and I am so grateful that we serve a certain God vs. a rollercoaster of emotion. It takes intention and self-preaching for me to rely on Him above all else, but He is most certainly the rock that is stronger than I.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Amen, Tiffany! I love how you put it: we serve a “certain God,” not a “rollercoaster of emotion.” I’m so grateful for that too, especially in our feelings-driven culture. Hugs, friend!

  6. Lois, what a beautiful post and a great reminder of who God is. Grateful to be your neighbor today over at #HeartEncouragement. Blessings

  7. Lois, what a powerful post. Yes, I tend more toward worry than anger too. I know God is God, and that He is good. And that He loves me. But, I sometimes forget to let that head knowledge impact my heart, especially when the times are hard. I work to do things in my own strength instead of looking to Him, trusting Him. I strive to do rather than to trust and be still so He can work.

    I so appreciate your reminders of all that God is and how deeply He loves us. Thank you for this!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      “I strive to do rather than to trust.” Yep, I’m guilty of the very same, Jeanne. I’m slowly learning (again and again) that God has a timetable for the work He’s doing in each of His children, and getting impatient over what He’s doing (or allowing) in someone else’s life doesn’t do me any good! Thank you for your encouraging words, my friend!

  8. Like you, I tend more toward worry than anger. But they are both bad. Worry tells God we don’t trust Him.
    Here’s to laying aside fear for what God has in store for us!

  9. Hi Lois,
    Your feelings are those that we can relate to since we experience them from time to time when things get hard, but I’m so grateful that our questions and doubts don’t affect God’s love for us, no matter how much we question! Settling our minds on the names of God is a great antidote to our feelings that tell us otherwise, too! xo

  10. Trudy says:

    This brings tears to my eyes, Lois. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, but through this difficult way, you are offering so much hope to others. I love this – “And when I find myself veering off into the emotional morass of the whys or the what-ifs, what I believe about God is my anchor.” Thank you so much for reminding me that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has us engraved upon the palms of His hand. He loves us with an everlasting love. And when I find things around me pressing me down to discouragement, I have to remember He is the same powerful God, and He is still in control. That I can’t “fix” things, but I have to leave them into His hands. Thank you so much for this soothing balm of hope to my weary heart, my friend! God knew exactly what I needed to hear today. Love and hugs to you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m so glad this post encouraged you, Trudy. God has been showing me some of the same things this week–especially that, as you say, “I can’t ‘fix’ things, but I have to leave them in His hands.” He’s working in other people’s lives just as He’s working in ours, and we never know how the things we long to “fix” fit into all of that, do we? One step at a time, right? Love and hugs back!

  11. I like that idea of writing down the names of God as we read through scripture, Lois. Maybe I’ll do that too. 🙂 Someone I love is going through a hard time right now, so this encouraged me, friend.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      This practice is making such a difference in my Bible reading this year, Betsy … I highly encourage it! It’s making God’s names and character traits roll off my tongue (and pen) more naturally, which maybe means they are sinking into my heart and soul more too?

  12. Good words Lois. I think it’s okay to let God know when we’re angry, He wants our honestly. But to know His Word is to know He is faithful. Amen.

  13. Yes! “He’ll be the first to know about it!” That’s such good counsel. All throughout Scripture we’re given words that express the entire range of human emotion directed toward God. He can take it.
    When we fail to do this, we set ourselves up in judgment over God, and our souls were just not designed to weather that kind of wear and tear.
    Thank you, Lois, for persevering in faith during these hard days.

  14. A great reminder! It’s easy to doubt God’s love or even lose faith during trials and it’s interesting how each person reacts differently. Our son was diagnosed with autism when he was three – my husband’s go-to response was to doubt God’s love for us while my go-t0 response was to cling to God’s Word. I’m definitely not “holier” than my husband – it was just a gut reaction for both of us. Thank you for sharing. Your neighbor at #raralinkup

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Adrienne, this has been something I’ve had to figure out over time too. It would be so much easier if we all thought and responded alike, but of course, that’s not how the world works! Thank you for sharing your perspective … I like how you point out that your responses were gut reactions, not an indication of how spiritual (or not) you were!

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