Is it Okay to be Angry at God?
Too many times we’re taught as Christians that we shouldn’t get angry. That anger isn’t of God. But what does that say to those who grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive, and addicted families? What are we to do with the anger we feel? Are we automatically rejected because of our anger? How does God feel about our anger? How can we effectively deal with the roots of our anger if we aren’t allowed to be angry in the first place?
In 1997, I began truly seeking God opening my heart up wide before Him. One of the first things He exposed was the anger I was holding in my heart towards Him.
What????!?!?!?! You mean, as a Christian, you can have anger in your heart towards God?!?!?!?
I’m here to say you can. And not only that, but you can have anger towards Him and still be loved and adored by Him.
Please allow me to share my story.
I didn’t realize I was angry towards God the Father. I knew I had anger buried way down deep on the inside of me. It was volcanic. It was explosive. It was intense. At times, it scared me.
After one such explosion, I pounded my tightened fist onto the counter in my kitchen and shouted to God, “I know that I’m angry! But WHAT am I angry about!?!?!”
For two weeks, God allowed me to feel the intense rage brewing deep within me. It was painful. It was ugly. It was fierce.
I went to church on what happened to be Valentine’s weekend.
Gotta love irony.
The pastor had everyone break up into groups.
Oh how I hated this kind of interaction!
I felt “set-up” by God but, as usual, I chose to be externally obedient and joined the group I was placed in.
I thought, “Well, I may have to be in the group but I’m sure not going to share my anger issue with them.”
Everyone in my group had their needs prayed for. Then the leader looked at me and asked what I needed.
Naturally, I replied, “Nothing. I’m good.”
Lying. In a prayer group. In church. Yeah, that scores points.
Her look softened and she gently laid her hand on my heart and began softly praying.
I couldn’t believe it. Was God telling her I was filled with rage?!?
She said, “Laurie, I see you hiding in the branches of a tree. You’re throwing things down to people below as if you want to join them but when they look up at you, you quickly hide behind the leaves. I don’t know what this means…”
As she was speaking, the pastor told everyone to return to their seats.
She stopped and stood up to returned to her seat along with everyone else.
I was livid!
As he dismissed the congregation I literally ran to my car not pausing to speak with anyone.
I cried all the way home.
It wasn’t the soft weeping of a heart that felt heard. It was the angry embittered sobs of a broken, smashed, bruised and battered heart that had been exposed only to be left without help or aid of any kind.
Why had everyone – EVERYONE – received prayer that morning except me?!?
My heart thrust forth every sharp rock it contained towards the One Who had created it.
“You don’t care about me! You never cared about me! I don’t matter. You treat me like dirt! You’ve always treated me like dirt. I hate You! You’re not fair. Others, oh they are cared for. But not me. Not me. You just beat me up any time You feel like it. You take away anything that brings me even the slightest bit of comfort. You take away anyone who shows me even a hint of love. You see my struggle and You flat out don’t care. You don’t care how badly You hurt me!”
I cried and poured forth my venom until at last I lay spent, still and quiet. Then the Lord gently reminded me of a poem I had read years earlier in Patsy Clairmont’s book, Under His Wings.
I Told God I Was Angry
I told God I was angry;
I thought He’d be surprised.
I thought I’d kept hostility
quite cleverly disguised.
I told the Lord I hate Him;
I told Him that I hurt.
I told Him that He isn’t fair;
He’s treated me like dirt.
I told God I was angry,
but I’m the one surprised.
“What I’ve known all along,” He said,
“you’ve finally realized.
“At last you have admitted
what’s really in your heart;
Dishonesty, not anger,
was keeping us apart.
“Even when you hate Me,
I don’t stop loving you.
Before you can receive that love,
you must confess what’s true.
“In telling me the anger
you genuinely feel,
it loses power over you
permitting you to heal.”
I told God I was sorry,
and He’s forgiven me.
The truth that I was angry
had finally set me free.
~ Jessica Shaver
Thus began a whole new set of tears but these tears were different. These were the tears of a wounded heart that had come to the end of its anger towards the only One Who could provide healing.
My relationship with God as my Father began to grow from that moment. I had always loved Jesus. He was the big brother I never had but always imagined would love and protect me and shield me from the daily pain I endured. But God the Father was another story.
I saw Him as mean and vindictive, ready to strike at the slightest infraction or simply because He felt like it. He was the heading at the beginning of the prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father…” I was afraid of Him. I was afraid of His fury.
I realized in the days, weeks and months that followed that He was nothing that I had believed Him to be. He loved me. He had always loved me. He had always been there to protect and shield me. He had never left me out of His sight even for a moment. He loved me so much that He had given up His own Son (my Big Brother) to bring me into relationship with Him.
What about that story of me being in a tree hiding?
God the Father is so incredibly intimate with each of us. My father’s nickname for me growing up was Squirrel.
Is there more truth buried in the story?
Yes, but that’s for another time and another vein of my healing…
So, can you be angry with God?
I have found that honesty, openness and REAL-ness are the keys to His very heart. It takes great faith to tell Him that you are angry and faith is what brings Him the most pleasure.
Think of the Fathers of our Faith who clearly gave us permission to bare all before Him. David – a man after God’s own heart – poured forth his pain, joy, and anger in his journal entitled the Psalms. Job – poured forth the full range of his emotional pain and loss. Elijah – fell into depression and God ministered to both his physical and emotional need. Jeremiah – who poured forth from his misery and despair in Lamentations.
So, if you’re angry, tell Him you are. Tell Him why. Pour it all out, until there is nothing left. And watch Him meet you right where you are.
~ Laurie Pontious-Andrews