Proverbs 19:3 states, “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”
I am sure that you’ve never been angry at the Lord. I have, but maybe you haven’t. But I am guessing you probably have. Being angry at the Lord is common to us, especially when things don’t go as we think they should.
We can really put the sources of our anger in two categories. One is our own actions that we can be angry about, and then we can project that anger upon the Lord. The other category is anger that is caused by what has happened to us. Things that people have done to us, or circumstances that have caused us pain.
That verse in Proverbs is applicable to many of us. But, I have to start by asking the question, do you know what displaced anger is? Displaced anger is when we are angry and frustrated about things and then something becomes a lightning rod. In our homes growing up, perhaps one person in the family is the family scapegoat; there was one person who was and continues to be blamed for everything. Perhaps we grow up and we blame our parents, our siblings, or our upbringing.
So the concept of blaming someone else for what I am going through probably has historical origins prior to ever projecting that upon the Lord. So we ask ourselves, do I typically tend to get angry at others when I am not doing well or I am frustrated? Do I displace my anger onto other people and take it out on them? Odds are if you do, you probably have a history of doing that. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It may be a continuing pattern. And that may be a place that you want to do some processing some talking and working with a counselor to figure out what causes you to do that.
With respect to our own actions that is something that we all have to consider. The Bible says we reap what we sow. The Bible also says that if we sow to wind, we will reap a whirlwind. In other words, sometimes some of our negative actions sow seeds of pain. But even in pain, we can grow if we ask the Lord to help us grow in the experience and to show us how our choices could have been better. Maybe we acted impulsively, or should have sought advice from someone with more knowledge or experience. Looking honestly at why some of our choices have been risky or bad or unwise can be invaluable.
Typically if we’ve had a tough childhood many of our adult choices are difficult and unwise because we didn’t have a home that taught us how to use good, sound judgment, critical thinking, and to make wise, thoughtful decisions.
A lot of people get angry at God because they have problems, and don’t feel God answers theirs prayers. My wife and I prayed that we would have a healthy summer where we’d have no problems or difficulties. But she was bucked off a horse and ended up on crutches for 5 weeks. And then just as soon she got off crutches, I ate something that made me sick and bedridden for 2 weeks.
What’s my point? My point is that sometimes we pray for things and it doesn’t work out the way we want, and we get angry at the Lord when we think that life is not going our way. And that summer at the Yerkovich house would be a case in point. Our summer turned out nothing like he had expected or hoped for.
But in reality, we shouldn’t be surprised that life can be hard. As I read Genesis chapter 2, I clearly read that the Lord placed consequences on mankind’s fall, and that life in this fallen world would be hard and frustrating. The scriptures plainly tell us that the ground will yield thorns and thistles and we’ll put bread on the table by the sweat from our forehead. There is going to be hurt. There is going to be pain.
Romans 8 says that all creation groans because God subjected creation to futility. Jesus doesn’t pull any punches when He tells us in John 16:33, “You will have many tribulations in this world.” James says consider it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
But despite what the Bible tells us, often we believe that we should have a pain free existence if God really loves us. Do I really believe that if God answered all of my prayers that I would have a life of comfort and bliss and I would never feel any agitation inside my soul? I don’t think so. Not in this world.
But, we want to feel God’s comfort and have all our prayers answered. We want life to go our way. But the Bible says that there is another way that God wants to meet our needs, and that is through the body of Christ. Did you know the Bible says that if you want to feel comforted, encouraged, consoled, held up in the stresses of life, that you are supposed to do all those with people, not God? He says I want you to have many of your needs met through me, through prayer, through my word. I am going to come along side you and help you. But He also says that I want a lot of your needs to be met through the body of Christ.
If you get out a concordance which is just a list of Bible words, and look up “one another” you’ll see how many references there are to “one another.” The Bible says we’re supposed to love one another, tangibly, physically. We’re supposed to encourage each other, but how can I encourage you if you never tell me where you’re discouraged. The Bible says to comfort one another, but how can we comfort each other if we don’t share where we are uncomfortable or distressed? The Bible says to bear one another’s burdens. If I never share my burden then I am singularly handling it and believing that God should somehow lift that burden. He says no, you need to be in the body of Christ where your burdens are shared with each other. We are healed in community, a healthy church. But not all churches are created healthy. They can only rise to the health level of the leaders. We have to find healthy churches where we find healthy people and healthy leaders.
We have to realize that God is not a genie in a bottle who we rub and He grants our desires. God is not a god who when you pray, makes all the pain go away. As a matter of fact, James 1 says these trials are supposed to make us more perfect and complete lacking in nothing. So actually it is the pressure and refining processes that God works in my mind and my soul and my spirit to make me more Christ-like. It is something that often only occurs from pressure and strain, not by perfect relief from all pain.
Read 1st Peter chapter one. It says it so clearly. This life is hard and it’s distressing. So Peter says fix your hope completely on the grace that has been given you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So there is this other hope where we realize that life here on earth is compromised. It certainly is not heaven. It certainly is not Eden. And so to reframe, we need to understand theologically who God is, what He promises us, and how He intends for our needs to be met.
Being angry at God is common, but what we really need to be angry at is sin and the enemy, Satan, who is causing all of the stress and pain in this world. And we can find comfort knowing that one day God will correct it all. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT)
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If I never share my burden then I am singularly handling it and believing that God should somehow lift that burden. He says no, you need to be in the body of Christ where your burdens are shared with each other. We are healed in community, a healthy church.
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