“But if we experience the sinful emotion of anger at God what then? Shall we add the sin of hypocrisy to the sin of anger? No. If we feel it, we should confess it to God. He knows it anyway. He sees our hearts. If anger at God is in our heart, we may as well tell him so, and then tell him we are sorry and ask him to help us put it away by faith in his goodness and wisdom.”
JOHN PIPER (DESIRING GOD)
Are you angry with God? Oh I have been angry with God and what is amazing to me is that I may have stuffed my anger with others but I did not stuff my anger at God. I remember it as if it were yesterday … I was so angry at God. I paced the floor as my anger grew into rage. I went into my family room and I shook my fist at God. I spoke out loud, “You know what … I can’t feel you, I can’t see you, I can’t sense you, I don’t even know if you exist anymore. And if you do exist, why aren’t you helping me?” Still fuming with anger, I said, “You know what I need to do? I need to run. I’ll just go back to the world. I need to get busy; I need to fill my life up with things. I ought to just turn my back on you!” But I couldn’t. I knew I couldn’t. Even with all its pleasures and promising distractions, I knew that the world could only offer a temporary solution. God offered the only eternal answer. When I was a little girl, I would sometimes get so mad at my parents that I would threaten to run away. I packed up my little suitcase with clothes, a few toys, and my favorite doll. Then I grabbed the handle of my little suitcase, stomped past my mom and headed for the front door. Mom would stand at the door with a sad expression on her face and say, “Oh Jan, I hope you will be okay. We will miss you.” But I would not be dissuaded. I marched down the front steps, down the long driveway, and to the sidewalk. Then I stood there. Mom waved goodbye and closed the door. I looked out at the whole wide world. I could go anywhere I wanted but suddenly I realized that there was only one place in the whole wide world where I would be safe and loved – back home. That realization carried me back up the driveway – through the front door – and into my mother’s waiting arms. This is what happened to me that day. When I finally decided to turn my back and run away from God, He let me walk to the edge. He let me walk to a place where I realized that no one loved me as he did. Just as my mother would not let me really run away, God wouldn’t either. I am His child; but in His great wisdom, He let me realize that nowhere else in the whole wide world, nowhere in all creation, can I go from His presence. He wouldn’t let me go – no matter how angry I was with Him. What a wonderful and humbling realization! I was in the same dilemma that faced Jesus’ disciples when many people were leaving Jesus because of His difficult teachings.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
That’s how I felt. Where else was I to go? God had me between a rock and a hard place – right where I needed to be. As King David wrote:
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Are you angry with God? Want to run from Him? I understand but don’t waste the energy – you can never run far enough to get away from His presence. Instead run back into His loving arms – He is waiting for you.
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.
Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
On the journey with you,