It had been a while since I had cried hot, angry tears, but there they were, uncontrollably rolling down my face.
I was in one of those moments in life where a “yes” answer to a long-prayed prayer was so close. Then, like a miscarriage or the mortgage that doesn’t come through or the engagement that ends, the “yes” vanished to “no.” The opportunity in front of me spectacularly fell through and I was sad, shaky, and seemingly out of nowhere, angry.
God wasn’t good. He was a cruel tease. And I was angry.
Is it Even OK to be Angry with God?
Is it OK to give God a piece of our mind? Is it OK to cry frustrated tears or shake angry fists? Is this irreverent?
How about a better question? Is it ever OK to not be brutally honest with God?
Honesty is important in every relationship. We cannot hide away our true selves and expect to have healthy interactions with anyone. If we are Christians, we are in a relationship with God. As with all relationships, we will get frustrated, we will misunderstand, and yes, we will get angry.
We are in good company. Most of the Old Testament book of Jonah is about how incredibly frustrated and angry Jonah was with God (particularly Jonah 4). Job got frustrated (Job 16:7, Job 30:19-20). So did David (Psalm 22:1-2). There is permission in these scriptures, as if the Lord is saying to us, “See, you aren’t alone in feeling this way. Go ahead and say what you need to say.”
God knows every part of us. He knows we cannot possibly understand everything He is doing in our lives. There is no one else who can best understand how we can misunderstand.
Growing relationships cannot be frictionless. There will be times we will be frustrated, angry and need to vent. The key is how we do just that.
3 Keys to Being Angry at God and Getting Away With It
- Run Toward, Not Away
When we are angry, the last person we want to face is the very one who frustrated us, but the worst action we can take is to cower away from God, stewing in our anger. He always wants to meet with us, regardless of how we feel towards him.
Be willing to work through the frustration with God, not against him. Come with balled up fists and clenched teeth, but still come.
Let’s be willing to work through the frustration with God, not against him.
- Say So
When we choose to run toward God, we still need to fight the temptation to gloss over our real emotions. If we are feeling angry, frustrated or impatient, say so.
Being completely honest with how we feel is a way to express our faith. By not hiding away how we really feel, we are trusting the Lord with our hardest and often the most tender parts of us. The more honest we are, the more room we give God to work in and through us.
- Beware of Bitterness
Bitterness starts with anger. While it is not sinful to feel angry, allowing that anger to be unchecked and lodged away can lead to nasty, long-term effects (Ephesians 4:26). Anger can be dealt with quickly, but bitterness is anger that has taken up residence in our lives and wrecks us from the inside out.
Scripture warns us to get rid of bitterness, and with good reason (Ephesians 4:31). No one wants to be a bitter person. No one wants to be around a bitter person.
It has been months since the day of hot, angry tears. I’ve had peaceful days and frustrating days. When it all nets out, I know this for certain: God’s purposes are good though I cannot understand them all. His love for me doesn’t change, though my emotions toward Him may. I can live the rest of my life knowing when the angry tears, balled up fists, and clenched teeth return, God can be trusted to handle my emotions better than anyone.