The unpredictability of life can be both exciting and gut-wrenching at the same time. You could be living life by your own calendar, marking off the days and tasks in a comfortable routine, and in a moment have your entire life be transformed. An encounter with someone, an intimate discussion with God, a promotion at work, a death in the family, a health issue that took you by surprise; these are only a few examples of how a day can completely change and how a life can be altered dramatically.
In all of the circumstances, both good and bad, that we experience, do you ever feel like God is going to let you down? Are there moments when your faith is so stretched that you wonder how God could bring gold from dust? And if you do feel like God is letting you down, are you being real with Him about it?
I know a few people who have been angry with God for some reason or another. I have felt anger towards God as well and can easily say that I have sworn at Him, cried in anguish at the events of my life, and have demanded answers from Him with very little patience or grace for all of the work that He has been doing in my life. These encounters with God were met with remorse a few hours (or days) after as I approached Him for forgiveness, but I rarely apologized for expressing my emotion. God did give us feelings, after all.
How many times have we been angry with God? Yet, despite the circumstances, we feel uncomfortable expressing it because we are scared to admit the depth of our emotion to ourselves, or we believe that God isn’t going to listen to our complaints and anger but will instead dismiss our feelings and punish us for lack of faith? It sounds like religion is rearing its head.
Imagine if you were angry and your earthly father asked you why. Rather than telling Him about the emotions that you are carrying, you instead clam up, slap a smile on your face and answer with, “I’m fine. Nothing to worry about here.” In most cases, your earthly father would not be impressed at being held at arm’s length or being unable to help you process your thoughts and feelings. I think God would feel the same way.
There is a quote by Kris Vallotton that says, “Feelings are great servants but terrible masters.” This is true, as feelings can direct us to invest in people and ourselves, but they can also rule us at the same time. If we are not careful or willing to process our emotions with others, we run the risk of hurting others and ourselves while separating our hearts and minds from the truths that God speaks over each of us.
I mention this quote because it is alright to feel angry. It is alright to talk to God about feeling discouraged or left out. It’s okay to go to God and say, “Look, I don’t know what your plans are. Right now, the time that I am walking through seems cruel and unfair. I have so many unfulfilled desires. I am feeling disappointed, and I need help working through this.”
Many teachings discourage feeling angry, sad, or let down when it comes to God. We can feel angry, sad and disappointed, but in experiencing these emotions, we also need to give them to God. In trusting Him with these feelings, we can show that while we are feeling the way that we are, we still have faith in Him and His plan. It is when our emotions rule our minds and cause us to be unable to hear God’s voice or see His hand working for our good, that emotions can be damaging.
But, even though it is healthy to process emotions such as anger and disappointment, we cannot set up camp there and continue to invite these feelings in. God works to bring about healing so that we can pack up camp and continue to move forward, knowing that despite the pain that we may have experienced, God is making all things good.
Yes, sometimes it can take a long time to properly grieve a painful situation. For some people, especially with the loss of a close loved one, the dull ache of loss can be felt whenever their memory enters into our thoughts. With God, however, grief, pain and sadness can diminish when we allow ourselves to grieve and work through the pain by letting God lead us and mentor us through it.
Right now, life may feel cruel and unfair as you witness other people’s prayers being answered, life moments being celebrated that you long to experience for yourself, or a movement of God of which you may have missed.
Yes, feel the anger. Yes, recognize that it is a human emotion and one that should be felt to process circumstances, but be willing to give Him the emotions and allow Him to see us as we work through them. As we continue to trust that His timing and plans are perfect, He will help us manage disappointments, frustrations and painful emotions that we are scared to feel ourselves.
May we never forget that the Lord works wonders
for every one of his devoted lovers.
And this is how I know that he will answer my every prayer.
Tremble in awe before the Lord, and do not sin against him.
Be still upon your bed and search your heart before him.
Pause in his presence
Bring to Yahweh the sacrifice of righteousness and put your trust in him.
-Psalm 4: 3-5