|Posted by pastorsloan on November 9, 2012 at 8:50 AM|
Being mad at God is a common response to any tragic situation, but especially when it is of great magnitude or with great frequency. This is not unlike the reaction we have to our earthly parents when they do something to or for us that we do not like. The truth is that if we are inChrist Jesus by faith then God is our Father, and we are His children. So it should not surprise us that we may at times become angry with God.
We can be mad at God over personal situations such as deaths or other losses. They may be community or national situations like hurricanes or tornados. They can even be world situations like injustice or poverty. Our problem is compounded when anger is left unchecked and turns into hatred of God. It must be dealt with before then. Let us start at the root of the problem of anger at God.
ANGRY AT GOD: Beliefs About God’s Character. Sometimes children get mad at their parents because they have certain assumptions about how their parents should act. Maybe it is based on experience, or just wishful thinking, but they have a set of assumptions about what their parents will do or what they want them to do. Similarly we get angry at God because we believe that he is supposed to be certain things. I think there are three areas of God’s character that affect us when we get angry at God: that God is powerful,that God is sovereign, and that God is loving and good. These are all based in truth, but are distorted by our limited human perceptions.
First we believe that God is powerful, which is true. This comes into play because we believe tha tGod had the ability to change or stop the tragic event. God could have done something. He could have stopped a death or ahurricane. So why didn’t he?
The next aspect of God’s character is that He is sovereign. This is related to God being all powerful, but is a belief that God has control over tragic events. Not only that He could have stopped something, but that He had the right to stop something. No one could have told God not to. So why didn’t he?
The final belief is that God is loving and good. Again this is true. This relates to our judgment of the event itself. We believe that the tragic eventis an unloving and cruel thing that a God of love and goodness could never do or allow. A good God would have stopped it. So why didn’t he?
What we fail to take into account are God’s purposes and perspective. It is true that God is powerful, sovereign, loving and good, but there is more to His character. He is omniscient, which means He sees thingsand knows thing from a completely different perspective from ours. He is also wise, which means that He has a plan behind everything He does or allows. Still, there is another deeper reason we become angry with God.
The Bible reveals to us that it is in our nature to hate God. Humans were not always that, but once sin entered the world, it was part of who were are to hate God. Let me show you one place where the Bible makes this clear.
Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.
That is each one of us when left to ourselves. We are by nature hostile to God. We cannot and do not do the things God wants of us. So we should not be surprised that anger at God rises up in us. It is in our nature because sin entered the world. But since sin (disobedience toGod’s will and decrees) has entered the world and affects each one of us, there is a far great issue than our anger at God.
GOD ANGRY AT US
It is true that God is a loving and good God, but He is also a just God. He can not look upon our rebellion and disobedience. As a matter of fact, it leaves God angry at us. It is anger that the Bible describes as wrath.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 5:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
God sees us as objects of His divine wrath because of our sin and rebellion. We must understand how God deals with His anger toward us if we are to ever learn how to handle our anger toward Him.
DEALING WITH THE ANGER: God deals with this anger toward us in Christ Jesus.
In order for God to deal with His anger toward us, He had to satisfy His wrath and His justice. He could not simply overlook our sin. He must do something about it. Sin deserves punishment. So God did what we could not do ourselves, He sent His son Jesus. God in Human flesh to satisfy that wrath. Look at how the apostle Paul puts it.
Rom 5:6-10 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
God satisfies His wrath toward us in Jesus Christ. But how it is that we receive such pardon? The first step is faith or belief in Christ as the one who has purchased your freedom,
John 3:16-18“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
We trust in Jesus Christ as our all sufficient savior who has fully paid for all our sins, but we also repent of our sins. We turn away from those things that have caused us to be objects of God wrath in the first place, and turn to God. Once the barrier of God’s wrath is removed we can deal with our anger at God in a whole new light.
We deal with our anger at God through eternal perspective.
God wants us to develop that same kind of perspective that He has on things: eternal perspective. Once we understand that God’s priorities are on heavenly things and the things that will last beyond our life here on earth, we can get a grip on the things of this world. God deals with His anger toward us because it has eternal consequences for us. Without it, we would spend an eternity separated from God. Those of us who have been spared from God’s wrath in Christ can think differently about what happens tous. The apostle Paul understood this.
2 Cor 4:7-18 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe,and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
When we take to heart that our afflictions in this world are small in comparison to the glorious eternity that we are made for, we have hope and faith to see us through whatever God may bring into our path. The afflictions are not removed, but they are put into perspective. God’s power is once again seen. God’s sovereignty is properly understood. God’s love and goodness are bigger that we had seen before when looking at the circumstances alone. May your anger at God be resolved in Christ Jesus, the one who took God wrath for you.
Rev. Howard Sloan is the pastor of St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Bedford, PA.