I got this email over the weekend and loved it. She’s really angry at God and wants to know if it’s safe to let him in. I wish more people were like her. I meet so many people who have a deep anger or disappointment in God but are either too afraid of him to let him know, or too busy trying to pretend otherwise that they miss the transformative moment. Every good engagement with God begins with naked honesty.
I’ve listened to The God Journey podcasts for around two years and read a couple of your books.
I have a question: Is it okay to be angry at God?
I feel so angry and I’ve been pushing it down, because I’m terrified that Papa will be angry with me or will abandon me for expressing anger at Him. I’m 20 yrs old and don’t really have a close connection with my family or really have any close friends, so Papa is really all I’ve got and the thought of Him being angry or ignoreing me is frightening!
There’s no one better to be angry with than God! He can handle it. And he already knows anyway, so you’re not going to surprise him. He will not return your anger with his, nor will he ignore you. He even understands your anger because he already knows it isn’t really about him. It’s most likely something you misunderstand about him because if you knew how much he loves you and how often he has been at your side to show you the way into life you wouldn’t see him the way you do.
I’ve had a few moments like that. Once when I was nineteen. I had not gotten an assignment in college that was very important to me, all because someone had told a lie about me. (I didn’t realize at the time how much that alone would prepare me for life!) But I went out on a hillside, at night in a driving Oklahoma downpour with lightning and thunder exploding around me and I let God have it. I even wondered if he’d nail me with one of those lightning bolts, but I didn’t care. I was that angry. At the end of it all I heard a voice, “I have something better in mind for you.” And that he did. It took months for the something better to unfold, but it expanded my view of God so much and showed me how wrong I can be about him.
If you don’t open the door to that space in your heart so he can meet you there, you’ll just get stuck in it. So, yes, go somewhere you can be alone and let him have it. Tell him exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. Don’t hold back a bit. Don’t try to couch it in polite language. Exhaust your anger on him. He’s got great big shoulders and can hold you with love in the middle of it. There’s no one better at it.
And then see what he does to meet you there, to soothe your wounds, to show you who he truly is and to walk you out into a place of greater life and love. He loves the honesty of our hearts, even when it’s misinformed. And in that honesty he is able to make himself known in ways you never thought imaginable. Many great journeys have begun with such moments of honest anger with the One who understands it best.