Monday, June 17, 2013

what I'm reading: the uncomfortable issue of anger at God

Sometimes when we suffer we feel angry at God. When we feel like this we have a few choices:
  • we can complain about God to others
  • we can give way to bitterness and retreat into despair
  • we can stuff our anger way down deep and put a brave face on it.
The problem with all of these is that they drive us (and others!) further from God. Joni gives us another option:.
When pain lumbers through the front door, squats down in the middle of your life, and makes itself at home day after day, year after year, we can choke. We can crack. We erupt in anger ...
The author of Psalm 88 abruptly stops on a note of resentment .... The words are ugly. Then again, so is life. 
God is big enough to take on anger like this. It doesn't fluster him.
First, he knows stuff happens. He himself said, "In this world you will have trouble." Secondly, he doesn't tiptoe around it ... He wrote the book on suffering. And he invited people like the one who wrote Psalm 88 to be his co-authors. In so doing he invited angry people to air their complaints. ...
We're usually scared to death to talk to God this way. Too often we repress our deep emotions about suffering. We choose the polite route, bottling up our unspeakable feelings toward God hiding behind a religious pretence as we "give it all over to the Lord" too quickly. All we've done is shove the problem to the back burner. ...The fire goes out. Our hearts become cold.
Anger keeps pushing the problems to the front burner ... 
Affliction either warms you up toward spiritual things or turns you cold ... Hate is sometimes closer to love than indifference. And lukewarmness is the only road that never goes to God. There's nothing mediocre about feelings of fury ... Much better than ho-hum half-heartedness. ...
Strong emotions open the door to asking the really hard questions.Does life make sense? Is God good? More to the point, our deep emotions reveal the spiritual direction in which we are moving. Are we moving toward the Almighty or are we moving away from him? Anger properly makes Someone the issue of our suffering rather than something. And that's moving in the right direction. ... 
After all, the people you really get angry with are the ones you trust most deeply. "I am mad as a hornet, God, and I don't understand what you are doing one bit" sounds like the dark side of trust, but it's trust, nonetheless.

Joni Eareckson Tada When God Weeps 149-152.

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