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Are you angry with God?

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(5/20) Introduction

I want to Talk to the Manager Ė Ever been there? The thing doesnít work, the clerks or salesmen donít give you the answer you want, the credit card company did not take that charge off after you returned the thing and you are tired of a run-around. You want to go to the top. Who is in charge here? I want the head honcho to give me satisfaction and make this right. Is your mind thinking about that time? The same thing holds true when a major event occurs in our lives that alters our life negatively. We want to go to the top and ask God why. Why did you bring this calamity or adversity into my life? We need someone to blame, to cast our anger on. Someone who could have altered the situation but didnít. He could have protected me or my family but He didnít. The result is that we are angry with our Creator and Father. We demand to know why. Many times there simply is no real answer coming. Just ask Job. We are miserable and we have no peace. What do we do? We need to Forgive God.

Forgiving God Ė A preposterous thought, perhaps it seems a bit blasphemous. 15 years ago, a pastor friend criticized me teaching this in the jail where I served as Chaplain.

  • Implies an offense - To forgive God implies that God deliberately hurt us when we didnít deserve it.
  • Implies sin Ė We are instructed to forgive those who offended or sinned against us. Yet the Bible reminds us that God doesnít sin and, in fact, He is incapable of sinning. Still we hold Him responsible for our pain. Why? There are several reasons.

I. Reasons We Blame God (Hab. 1:1-4; Jer. 20:7ff; Psalm 13)

  • What we read and believe doesnít line up with our experience. The Bible says that God is my defender, my fortress, my shield, my refuge, but He didnít protect me. The Bible says they who wait upon the Lord will renew there strength and that we should be long-suffering, well I waited for years and I was very patient but my situation just went from bad to worse. That is what I heard from a friend of mine just a few days ago. God didnít change my marriage or my situation. I trained up my child in church and bathed him in prayer, but he walked away from us and God. I exercised faith and prayed daily for something that I believe Jesus would have wanted and my prayers were not answered. I prayed for a healing for myself or a family member or friend and they died. I met a man when I was a Chaplain that was a Satanist. He became a Satanist because when He was a boy, his brother became ill and He prayed for His brother to recover but his brother died. He said, "I told God what He could do with Himself."
  • God could have stopped or prevented our pain but He didnít. He is supposed to be my Father. I would never allow a child of mine to go through the pain that I have been through. My Father is supposed to be all powerful, and sovereign. He is supposed to love me. What I have been through doesnít feel much like love to me. He could have saved me, my child, my parent, my job, my marriage, or my home, but He didnít. Letís look at Hab. 1:1-4; Jer. 20:7ff; & Psalm 13. Ever felt that way? We have for two years. And the truth is:
  • God Really is Responsible. I know that we blame ourselves sometimes, or Satan, or others, but the truth is God is to blame. Luke 22 and Job make it clear that Satan can only do what He is given permission to do. You know that Satan wanted to afflict Job and God gave His consent and in fact, at the end of Job in 42:11, it says that, the Lord brought the adversity upon Job. Romans 8:28 says that God is at work in everything. He claims responsibility for birth defects in Exodus 4:11. Isaiah 45:7 says, "I make peace and create calamity, I the Lord do these things." Deep inside we know that He is responsible and we get angry and want to blame Him and the results of our anger or pain are:

II. Results of Being Angry with God

  • Silence Ė We stop praying. At first we are like Habakkuk or Jeremiah and we express our anger or disappointment, then we cease praying, and perhaps listening to Him.
  • Bitterness Ė or resentfulness. We donít want anything to do with God or church.
  • Forgetfulness Ė We forget Godís blessings in our past or His promises for our future.
  • Cynical Ė That is, we become critical of anyone or anything that speaks of faith and the grace of God. Yeah, right!
  • Rebellion Ė That is, we return to the life we had before Christ. That may include drinking, drugs, and/or a life that is just opposite of being a Christ Follower.

III. Reconciling With God

The life of rebellion and bitterness and cynicism does not produce peace in our souls. What we need to do is to reconcile with God. That is probably a better way to say it that to say to forgive God. We know that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself and when we were reconciled to God, our status as dead, and slaves to sin, and enemies and aliens of God was changed to children, family members, free friends of God with life and that gave us peace. How do we have peace restored when our lives have been turned up-side down and God didnít show up.

  • Identify your feelings Ė What are you feeling? Be honest. Is it heart ache, anger, bitterness, sorrow. Etc.
  • Communicate your feelings Ė Its okay to tell God that you hurt (1 Peter 5:7). The text implies to dump or spill everything onto His lap. You can indeed ask, "Why?" He invites you to do just that. I promise there will be no lightning bolts. Habakkuk did, David did, Jeremiah did, Elijah did, and even our Lord Jesus did from the cross as He quoted Psalm 22:1. Yell, scream, cry, do what ever you need to express to Him what you are feeling, what you thought would happen, what you assumed He was going to do.
  • Remind Yourself of Truth
    • He is God and You are Not. This requires deep humility in our pain. That is what we are reminded of when we read Job. After 38 chapters of discussion and Job wanting to speak to God and know why this happened. God said to Him. Let me ask you a few questions and you answer me. He proceeded to ask a lot of things that Job couldnít begin to answer. Isaiah and Jeremiah ask what Paul records for us in Romans, that the thing made can not say to the maker, "Why did you make me this way?" This is His world and not mine. Even we, are not our own, we belong to Him Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19. God is God and I am not as Steven Curtis Chapman says in His song. Job needed to do this. Look at Job 42:1-6
    • God is Sovereign and really is Responsible- There is an old story about a Jewish taylor that met a Rabbi on his way out of the synagogue. "Well, what have you been doing in the synagogue, Lev Ashram," inquired the Rabbi. "I was saying prayers, Rabbi." "Fine," and did you confess your sins?í "Yes, Rabbi, I confessed my little sins." "Your Little sins?" "Yes, I confessed that sometimes I cut cloth on the short side and cheat on a yard of wool by a few inches." "You said that to God, Lev Ashram?" "Yes, Rabbi and more. I said, ĎLord, I cheat on pieces of cloth; you let babies die. But I am going to make you a deal. You forgive me my little sins and I will forgive your big ones.í" To be sovereign means that He has total authority over everything. Jesus said that He knows of every sparrow that falls and every hair on your head, and there is nothing He can not do. Our problem is that we know this and therefore, God could have stepped into my situation and altered it. He has the resources, and the ability, but He chose not to.
    • Suffering is part of Godís plan for you. Jesus promised that in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33) Paul said, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." (Phil. 1:29) Peter said that we were called, to follow the steps of Jesus as pertaining to suffering. The Author of Hebrews even said that Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered." (Heb. 5:8). Why? Iíll tell you in a moment.
    • God does Care Ė That is what Peter tells us. The evidence is in the fact that Jesus died and rose again to give us hope and peace. He became a man to experience life so you would know that He knows what you feel and need. He sent His Holy Spirit to live in you so you wouldnít have to experience life and its pains alone, and would have the strength to endure anything, even if you feel that you canít. When Paul begged God for relief, God said, "No, my grace is sufficient," (2 Cor. 12:9). Max Lucado asks, "If God never answered another prayer, would it not be enough that Jesus died and rose again to give us life and a hope?"
    • God does have a Plan Ė Look at Romans 8:28-29. While I like the words of Jeremiah 29:11, I want to remind you that those words came with a promise of captivity in a foreign land and the certainty of the destruction of their beloved city and temple. My good plan for you includes 70 years of captivity. Godís good plan for you is not to give you something bigger or better but it is to conform you into the image of Jesus who, as we just saw, learned obedience by suffering. I donít know how God needed to learn anything, but Jesus needed to trust the plan of the Father in order to identify with us and to become our substitute. Sometimes we discover what that plan is like Joseph, in Genesis 45 and 50, who said to His brothers after years of slavery and imprisonment that He knew they meant his pain for evil but God had a good purpose in allowing it, and 20 or more years later He understood that His plan was to save Israel. Yours might be to prepare for helping others (2 Cor. 1:3-4). To give hope to others who have lost a child, or a church, or were imprisoned, struggling with drugs and alcohol, or suffering with cancer, etc. David had to learn how to go from shepherding sheep to shepherding a few hundred refugees and outlaws to prepare to him to shepherd a nation. Moses had to learn how to go from being a somebody to become a no-body, so God could take a no-body and make Him somebody for God. Sometimes we never know that plan as God is working this into His grander scheme of preparing the world for Jesus return. Job never knew why? And when he finally got his audience with God was told it was none of His business. Why the holocaust or any other genocide? Why the stillborn, why the SID cases, why the miscarriages? But God has a grand scheme and we, His creation and children are part of it.
    • Godís Plan is Rooted in Love Ė Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:35-39. No matter what we go through, God loves us deeply and that will never change. It was His love that sent Jesus and gave us a hope and a future.
  • Walk By Faith Ė That is Obey God because you Trust Him. I am thinking of another sermon series that I may attempt to put in a book, What to do when you donít know what to do. When Habakkuk complained to God because He didnít understand. God said in 2:4, that the just was to live by His faith. Do what you know to do. Trust and obey. Babbie Mason wrote a song that I have had the privilege of singing with my daughter a few times, "When you donít understand, when you donít see his plan, when you canít feel His hand, trust His heart." Faith says, "I donít know the whys, but I will keep obeying what I do know because I trust Him regardless of the circumstances or consequences.
  • Submit to His Will Ė Thatís what Jesus did and so did Paul in 2 Cor. 12. Thatís what we need to do. Never the less, not my will but yours be done. That surrender, that humility will bring you peace.
  • Focus on the Eternal Ė 2 Cor. 4:16-5:10 Paul reminds us that no matter what we go through or experience, this is all temporary, But God has something greater and permanent in mind for us to look forward to. Even Jesus endured the cross because of what he had to look forward to (Heb. 12:2-3)
  • Resist the Devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8) These are the times when he will come at you to tempt you to fix things yourself and to turn away from God and embrace the old ways. Resist Him.
  • Stay Connected to your church and small group. You need their encouragement and support.

Donít blame God, Trust Him even when life makes no sense. I donít what God has in mind at this moment and I may never know, but I trust Him. I know He loves me because He sent Jesus for me to give me life and a hope. When I donít understand, I will trust His heart.

Are you angry with God?

Are you blaming Him for your pain? Itís okay.

Do you need to reconcile with God?

You need to cast all your anger, all your pain onto His lap

Then tell Him that though you donít understand, You know He has a good plan and you will focus on the Cross and the Finish line. I will not let Satan tempt me to return to the old life. I donít understand, but I will trust and obey.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman