This will sound sacrilegious to some, but I will venture ahead anyway. I experienced loss for which no one was to blame. I had ten miscarriages, and no cause was discovered for most of them – no disease, no external cause – nothing. I had no place to direct blame; there was no discernable cause for my loss – not cancer, not addiction, not car wrecks, not old age… Only God – who could have stopped it, who could have stopped every single miscarriage from happening. I watched other women experience scares in their pregnancies, but each one of them ended in a miraculous save by God. Where was my miracle? Why wasn’t I loved enough by God for him to at least answer my prayer to leave me barren if I was destined to lose every baby that attached itself to my uterus? How could a God who let me lose ten babies be good and loving? He was anything but kind to me. Maybe he didn’t directly cause my miscarriages, but he could have stopped them, and that’s almost the same thing as causing them if God is omnipotent, right?
I thought all of those things. I thought my faith must not be strong enough because my prayers were going unanswered while I saw miracles happen around me. I hated God. I was so angry I couldn’t talk to him, I couldn’t read the Bible, and I couldn’t sing in church if I even went at all. We church people say a lot of stupid things when we try to comfort people who have suffered traumatic loss: “It’s all part of God’s plan,” “It was just God’s timing,” and my favorite, “It will all work out when he wants it to.” So, he didn’t want ten of my pregnancies to work out?!? God PLANNED for me to suffer like this?!? No, thanks. I’m going to rethink everything I know about God while you spout churchy words at me because that does NOT sound like a merciful God to me.
I had no idea what to do with the anger I felt for God, so I turned to a Bible study book about dealing with pregnancy and infant loss. I only got more frustrated when the author said in one chapter that it’s okay to be mad at God and then said that being angry at God is a sin in the next chapter. I may have burned that book… The thing is, the author wasn’t all wrong. Being angry at God isn’t a sin, but what you do with that anger might be. I love reading the Psalms because they are written by people who poured out their whole hearts to God. There’s plenty of anger and plenty of blaming God, but there’s also the realization that God is unshakeable, unchanging, and undeniable. It is okay to be angry at God and to tell him you are angry; it is not okay to live in that anger and act on it.
The Bible has pretty simple guidelines for anger: “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT We do stupid stuff when we’re angry – well, I do; you are probably more mature than I am and can hold your temper. When anger controls you, you will act more rashly and more harshly than you should, and you will do something you’ll regret once you calm down. Those angry actions and words are what’s sinful – not the anger itself. So be angry at God if you need to, but then you have to dump it all out and tell him everything and forgive him – let it go. Because the truth is we do not deserve anything but judgment from God’s hand. I am a sinner (I am not perfect like God is perfect), and the consequence of my sin is God’s judgment and death. We live in a world full of sin where horrible things happen because of our sin, and while God intervenes sometimes, we are not owed any miracles. While we live on this earth, we will suffer because the world is broken and in desperate need of a savior to make it whole and perfect again. But God is still God; he is always good and just and merciful. He is still in control, and he still loves you.
Living in anger “gives a foothold to the devil” by allowing you to think that God owes you something or that your suffering has earned you the right to demand things from God. Don’t let anger narrow your focus to the one thing you didn’t get from God. Look around you at what he has provided and be grateful you haven’t gotten the punishment you truly deserve. Once I stopped being angry and forgave God, I regained the relationship with him I’d been missing. I realized that I didn’t have the babies I so desperately wanted, but he had provided for all of my physical needs; he gave me a kind and wonderful husband; he gave me nurturing family and friends; and he gave me purpose. Forgiving God wasn’t about God at all, but it was all about my relationship with him and how I viewed myself in light of his forgiveness of my sins.
If you’re feeling angry at God, you’re not going to hell for feeling angry. You’re actually in good company since David, who wrote a lot of the Psalms, was called a man after God’s own heart. But stay in that company and follow David’s example: lay it all out before God, and then realize that he is God, and he’s got this. He’s got you. Don’t miss out on a relationship with your creator because you’re mad.