OceanSide church of Christ
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ANGRY WITH GOD
Victor M. Eskew
A child lives only two days after birth. SIDS has taken her precious little life. Mom and Dad are angry with God. A couple has been planning for retirement. One month before the husband’s last day on the job, he is
diagnosed with cancer. He is given only three months to live. The couple is angry with God. By the age of ten, a little boy has been in four foster homes. He never knew his father. His mother abandoned him at the age of five. He, too, is angry with God. A fifty-eight year old man has worked diligently to build a business. A poor economy and a corrupt business partner force him into bankruptcy. He is angry with God.
God has been the target of much anger. Humans rationalize that since God is almighty He can stop all the evil in the world. They also think that since God is love, He should pour out His benevolence so that no one suffers pain and anguish. Since this does not always happen, men and women and children blame God for the heartaches they suffer. They ask: “Why didn’t God do something?” The more they think about their situation, the more their anger toward God burns within them.
Some of us have been in these situations. Others have witnessed the anger that others have had toward God. The question that often comes is: “How do I deal with this anger?” Or, “how can I help another who tells me about the anger he has toward God?” We hope that some of the thoughts in this article will help.
First, we must remember that human beings are beings of choice. “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Josh. 24:15). If we did not have the ability to choose, we would only be puppets in the hand of God. Our service to Him would not be voluntary. It would not be done out of love. The fact that we are free moral agents is important from two standpoints. One, sometimes we make choices that bring us harm. God has nothing to do with that. Two, sometimes other individuals make choices that harm us. Again, God has nothing to do with such things. In these cases, it is wrong to blame God. We need to direct our anger toward those who are responsible for our hardship or grief.
Second, we must remember that God is not the only force that exists in this world. Satan is the prince of this world (John 12:31). He walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). His presence, although evil, is here. His presents the side that is in opposition to God. Sadly, his presence can bring harm to human beings. He lures and deceives humanity. Those who yield to him take a hard road (Prov. 13:15). Why men never want to be angry with the devil has always been a mystery to this writer.
Third, our God never promised an easy road, free from tribulation in this world. In fact, He promised difficulties. In John 16:33 we read: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” If we have had adequate warning about the difficulty of our sojourn here, why do we get angry about it? Nothing has been hidden from us. God has not lied to us. A general once rode with his troops to the battle line. He warned them of the bloodshed and death they would experience. The battle was as predicted. The soldiers who survived never said an angry word to their commander. Instead, they thanked him for the forewarning. It eased the pain of their suffering and loss. Why can’t we be as thankful to our Commander? He has lovingly cautioned us about the hardships of life.
Fourth, we sometimes fail to remember that not all suffering is harmful to us. In fact, it can be a means of
strengthening our character and bringing forth fruit unto God. Let us remind you that we are not saying suffering is
pleasant. We are only asserting that is can be beneficial. This was a lesson the Hebrew writer sought to get across to his readers. Apparently, they were experiencing difficulties. Some were beginning to waver. Thus, the inspired penman writes: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yeildeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11). James also set forth this same lesson in James 1:2-4. It was such a vital point that he exhorted his readers to rejoice in their temptations. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be complete and entire, wanting nothing.”
Fifth, those who are angry with God need to remember that God sometimes wants to test our faith. The devil says that the only reason we serve God is because He is always good to us. God knows better. He knows that many men serve Him for nothing. They serve God because He is God and for no other reason. Job was such a man. In Job 1:9, Satan asked God: “Doth Job fear God for naught?” God then put His servant to the test. He was afflicted physically, economically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Job, however, held up under the test. Even when his wife tried to get him to curse God, he would not. Here’s how he answered her chiding: “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).
Anger is a God-given emotion. Expressed at the right time, in the right way, and toward the right person, it can serve a purpose. God, however, should never be the recipient of our anger. Even if He seems to act against us, He is not. God love us and cherishes us as His children. He knows that this world in which we live is only a temporary existence. He is more concerned about our living with Him in the world to come (II Cor. 4:16-5:4).
As we close, we want to look at one other point. There are many people who use their anger toward God as an excuse. Serving God is demanding. It involves sacrifice. If one is angry, he doesn’t have to serve. He can always say: “I’m too mad to serve God right now.” What is interesting is that many of these individuals were not faithful before the plight for which they are angry with God. Their anger is used in an attempt to justify their continued unfaithfulness. Those who use anger in this manner are not people of integrity. Sadly, they will stand before God lost trying to blame their Saviour for their lost condition. Think about that one. It is sobering indeed.