Anger is a natural emotion designed to help us to respond to injustice or wrong situations. Certainly it is OK for us to be angry sometimes, but what about anger with God?
Let’s consider some of the “anger stories” from the Bible. Job was angry after losing his children, his property, his crops and livestock, and his health. He didn’t know the reason for his suffering, and his friends incorrectly speculated that he must have done something wrong to cause his struggles. Job’s anger may have seemed justified, but God corrected him for this God-directed anger. “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” (Job 38:2 NLT). As Job heard from God, he became repentant, and God restored him and blessed him with even greater abundance.
Jonah was angry when the Ninevites were saved. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh when God sent him there, because he didn’t like them. Yet, after some mind-changing time in the belly of a fish, Jonah brought God’s warning to the people of Nineveh. They repented and turned to God. Afterwards, Jonah was very angry with God. God responded, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” (Jonah 4:4 NLT). God went on to teach Jonah a lesson in compassion, explaining His concern for the people of Nineveh.
In both situations, God’s relationship with His people continued in spite of their anger with Him. In that sense, their anger was OK, but that didn’t make it right.
Jesus got angry, too. His anger was righteous and justified. He was so angry with the moneychangers that He turned over their tables. He was also angry at the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Jesus’ anger was never directed at God, though. His anger was with people whose hearts and actions did not honor God.
We learn from these lessons that it may be OK to be angry with God, but it is never correct to be so. God allows His people to express their emotions to Him, even anger. He will participate in conversation with those who are angry with Him. But our anger with God implies that He has committed some injustice toward us. While we may be deeply hurting, enduring great losses and hardships, none of us is in a position to accuse God of injustice. After all, if we got what we justly deserved, scripture says that we would all be lost for eternity.
Trusting God means that we believe He is working things out for our good, even when those things are bad or painful at the time. While we many not see the reason or purpose for our pain, we know that God can use it to draw us closer to Him. His desire is for us to look to Him for comfort and strength, even in our anger.
If you have been feeling angry with God, talk to Him about it. Be honest with Him, and He won’t turn you away. In the face of loss and injustice, God is the only one who offers us hope and healing in exchange for our hurts. Instead of raising fists to Him, raise your hands and run into His open arms.
Kathy Tack is lead pastor of Generations of Grace Church in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month writing a column.