The Path from Anger at God to Trust in Him
At some point, we’ve all been angry at something or someone.
Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”
Some people experience anger at other drivers, some people experience anger at their circumstances, and others become angry at God.
Some of you who read it may immediately think this is blasphemous, but others of you may recognize this feeling because you’ve experienced it. So, is it right?
Are we “allowed” to be angry at God?
The short answer is anger at God is sinful.
Now, before you close this link, please understand that we are going to dig deep into why and explain what the appropriate response is when dealing with some of life’s most tragic situations.
To help us understand what to do with our big feelings, we will use the booklet, Angry at God? Bring Him Your Doubts and Questions by Robert D. Jones.
God Never Promised an Easy Life
Got Questions writes, “When good things happen, we all too often attribute it to our own achievements and success. When bad things happen, however, we are quick to blame God, and we get angry with Him for not preventing it, which indicates the first flaw in our thinking—that we deserve to be immune to unpleasant circumstances.”
This rings true.
Many people seem to expect their lives to go a certain way and when it doesn’t go as planned, they have to blame someone. Someone often becomes God.
But God never promised an easy life without tragedy. In fact, He tells us just the opposite.
Even those who strive to live in a way that honors God will experience hardships.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
– John 16:33
Why Anger at God is Wrong
We stated earlier that anger at God is sinful. Let’s explain why.
Jones writes, “Anger against God is wrong because it accuses God of wrongdoing. To be angry with God is to perceive some wrong in God, to apprehend some evil in his ways.” Furthermore, “Anger against God is always wrong because in that it accuses God of evil.”
Ultimately, when you are angry at God, you assume He has done something wrong. As believers, we know this is impossible.
John Piper says, “It is arrogant for finite, sinful creatures to disapprove of God for what he does and permits. We may weep over the pain. We may be angry at sin and Satan. But God does only what is right.”
What Anger at God Reveals
Moreover, anger reveals much about the state of your heart.
Whether this is anger at a situation, another person, or God, it says something about you.
Jones quotes Kay Arthur as saying, “You get angry at God ‘because God did not do what you thought he should or the way he should do it or when he should do it.’”
Our anger at God reveals we’ve fallen for the lie: God should have. God should have protected my family, saved my marriage, etc.
Jones continues, “We believe that God owes us something better than the providential hardships we face.”
It’s a mentality that suggests we believe God owes us something.
Additionally, anger at God reveals what we really think about God.
Do we see him as a tyrant set on hurting his children?
When we are angry at Him for what He has allowed, this is what we accuse him of being.
Got Questions explains, “When we do not understand the extent of God’s sovereignty, we lose confidence in His ability to control circumstances, other people, and the way they affect us. Then we get angry with God because He seems to have lost control of the universe and especially control of our lives. When we lose faith in God’s sovereignty, it is because our frail human flesh is grappling with our own frustration and our lack of control over events.”
How to Turn Away from Inappropriate Anger
If you are struggling with feelings of anger at God, you can take those feelings to Him. He already sees your heart.
However, that doesn’t mean it is right or that you should allow it to fester. This will only lead to bitterness.
Instead, we need to confess and repent.
Jones suggests, “The solution to sinful anger at God lies in continually repenting of our remaining unbelief and rebellion. We must reject the lies that deny God’s goodness, power, and wisdom, and we must reaffirm his righteousness, love, and justice.”
When Angry Venting Becomes Lamenting
When you are hurting, questioning, and doubting, there is a way you can express your feelings. It is called lamenting.
Jones explains, “Scripture teaches us the art of holy lamenting – learning how to complain in faith – to God about the calamities he sends.”
We see examples of lamenting in the Book of Job, the Book of Lamentations, and the Book of Psalms.
When lamenting, people like Jeremiah and David took their hurting hearts to God rather than merely expressing anger at God.
According to Jones, laments of faith all share the following elements.
- Suffering. In Scripture and life, lament begins with suffering. Those who suffer are confused and hurting.
- Prayer. Jones writes, “Each lamenter voiced his questions directly to God himself. They moved toward God, not away from him.”
- Faith. Laments come from fundamentals beliefs about God.
Jones explains, “The mindset goes like this: Father, it is precisely because I know that you are all-loving and all-powerful that I am struggling with the seeming absence of your love and power right now in this situation.”
- Humility. Jones writes, “These believers expressed their laments with reverence and submission. They didn’t vent or lose control.”
- Renewal. Even though these individuals struggled, they found resolution and renewal by lamenting to God.
The Path from Anger at God to Trust in Him
So, what do you do when something happens that creates feelings of anger at God?
- Start by remembering who God is.
- Reaffirm your belief in His goodness, love, power, wisdom, and sovereignty.
- Remember that God is not wrong, and he is never evil, and it is wrong to place this accusation on him.
- Recognize you are not supposed to understand God’s way.
Jones writes, “You are not responsible for figuring out God; only for knowing, trusting, and pleasing him. Resist the demand to know God’s secret things, and instead rest in God’s revealed things (Deut. 29:29), what His Word tells you about his loving purposes.”
- Continue to spend time with Lord and be honest about your thoughts, questions, and feelings.