“Am I allowed to be mad at God?” I’ve asked myself this question many times in the past year, but what I have come to realize is that whether or not I’m allowed to be mad at Him doesn’t really matter. The fact is, I am mad at God.
I don’t want to be mad at God, but the denial of my anger doesn’t make it disappear. It’s a bittersweet feeling to say it, “God, I’m mad at You!” My heart aches with the pain of disappointment, but I finally feel heard. For so long I have denied my anger and as a result I have minimized my feelings, but my feelings are present regardless if it is “ok” to feel them. But how do I process and confess my anger to God?
God is perfect, right? He doesn’t make mistakes. But my life is not what I want it to be. I feel stuck. How can I possibly be mad at my creator if my life is how it should be. Somehow I am in the wrong, because I am the sinner, not God. But I’m still mad and I don’t understand. I didn’t do anything wrong. When my crappy situation was the consequence of a sinful behavior I could accept it – I knew that I had done wrong, and what I was going through was not punishment for my sinful behavior, but the reason why God wanted me to stay away from the behavior in the first place. But what had I done that resulted in infertility, loss of dreams, and the fear that my husband’s blood disorder will lead to an early death? These thoughts tripped me up, because I began to paint a picture of a God that is all powerful, but uncaring. I started thinking of God as the wicked step mother in Cinderella.
He has all the authority, he shouts out abusive orders that I must obey, and I can’t find rest or get what I want. I go from one back breaking demand to the next and every time I ask questions, plead for rest, or make a special request (to go to the ball, or have a baby) I am immediately manipulated and put into my place. “Haven’t I done enough for you? Has my sacrifice not been sufficient? I have cared for you when no one else would. The least you could do is obey my commands.”
Just as Cinderella relied on the provision of her wicked step mother, I rely on the provision of my God. Matthew 6:26 tells of God’s provision “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” But what is provision without love? God’s character isn’t like the wicked step mother – He does more than provide, He loves. In fact, God is love (1 John 4:8).
I’m reminded of a time when I was sixteen. My brothers and my dad were away for the day. I wanted to practice my dancing on my dance floor in the basement, but my brothers had left the basement in disarray. My dance floor was barely visible under the Legos and air soft pellets. I was furious. My mom made a proposal, “let’s work together and get the basement all clean, then you can practice.” All I heard was, “clean up your brothers’ mess.” The unfairness of the situation blinded me. I flew into a rage, and without even acknowledging her attempts to join me in cleaning a mess that was not her own, I called her hurtful names and accused her of being unfair. I was told to go cool off in my room, but in my anger I fled the house. I walked around the neighborhood for two hours, but soon my hunger for lunch called me back home. I was certain that my return home would result in a lecture and a grounding. I was wrong.
My mom ran to me and hugged me the second I walked in. She confessed her worry for my safety (she had no idea I was just walking the woodsy paths in our neighborhood). She fed me lunch and sent me to my room. Then the craziest thing happened. She sat down on my bed and said, “I want to know why you are so mad at me.” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t receive a lecture on how wrong I was, we both knew I was wrong to react the way I did. Instead she listened to me as I ranted about how upset I was that my dance floor had been commandeered by Lego castles, the Millennium Falcon, and x wings. She listened as I confessed my desire to do well at Nationals and my fear that I wasn’t good enough. She heard everything. Some of my anger was directed at her. I mistakenly saw her as an authority figure that was abusing me into doing something I shouldn’t have to do. But in reality, she had heard my desire to practice, and was willing to help me make it happen.
That’s how God is. His character was reflected in my mom’s character that day. He does not make decisions based on selfish desires, He does everything out of love. God is love. I am not suddenly flooded with understanding about my situation. But I never found out why my brothers continually used my dance floor as Lego central either. The reality is that I don’t have to know why, I just have to know that God is willing to help me. I can also be free to tell Him how I feel. He can handle it. I will not be condemned for my feelings, I will be comforted and led.