Angry with God? Try These 4 Steps
Guest blogger Noah Duncan is the author of DaytoDayChristian.com, a blog site dedicated to dealing with the everyday challenges of being a Christian in today's world. He felt called by God to share his talent and ability to encourage others through his writing. Noah has been married to his wife Pam for 31 years, and they have a daughter in college and a son in high school. Noah teaches English, Journalism, and Broadcasting as well as coaching softball and tennis at a local high-school in St. Charles, Missouri. Through amazing opportunities from God, he has been blessed to impact the lives of countless students over the last 22 years.
When we envision our life story in our heads, we never really leave any room for the dreaded diagnosis we just can’t believe, or news of a horrific automobile accident, or being trapped day after day inside our own bedroom because of crippling depression. When those things and many others make their way into our life story, we need somewhere to put those emotions that are running through us like a freight train. So often the emotion that floods our system is anger, and that anger often gets directed at God.
I know that’s the way it worked for me back in October of 2020, when I found out I have Multiple Sclerosis. Commonly referred to as simply MS, it is a disease that has a different effect on everyone who has it. For me it affects the right side of my body, and I have reduced functionality in my leg and my arm. For a teacher, coach, and athlete to hear those words that I have MS, it was devastating.
The grief and sorrow were crippling at times, and the anger, well, it was off the chart. This wasn’t fair. Why would God do this? I love the Lord. I’m in church every Sunday. Seriously, God, why?
Yeah, I was angry with God, but I’ve come to realize, this was okay. God’s big enough to handle our anger. There are many examples in the Bible of people getting angry with God, like David, Jonah, and Job, to name a few. God knows us inside and out, so He understands the anger. The problem arises when we can’t move past the anger. It stews and stews and we just can’t move forward. I was finding myself in this place, but through my journey with the Lord, I also found four steps that I believe anyone can use to help them move forward from this crippling anger.
STEP 1 – PRAYER
Of course all of us are different, and as you read these steps, one may come before the other for you. However, I definitely think prayer should be the first step for every single person who is angry with God. Instead of shaking your fist at God, talk to Him. Talk to Him as if He were your best friend who just stabbed you in the back. Because let's face it, that’s how we really feel and God already knows that.
As I tried to wrap my head around my diagnosis, I spent time conversing, yelling, and weeping to God. These weren’t the “Our Father;” they were raw, unscripted words that only God heard. They certainly weren’t as fancy as David’s words in Psalm 13, but they had much of the same sentiment.
“How long, Lord? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”
God heard David’s cries, and He hears our cries as well; I know because He heard mine. He is the same God now as He was for David. The same God who “Heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 My heart was broken, and if I hadn’t spent that time fleshing out my anger with the Lord, while at the same time crying out to Him for help, well, I’m not sure where I’d be today.
STEP 2 – MUSIC
Music has always been important to me. I have some of my fondest and some of my worst memories wrapped up in music. I’m also a playlist kind of guy. I love to make them. Back in the day it was burning CDs, but you get the point…music holds weight. Shortly after receiving my diagnosis, I created the MS Life playlist. This playlist contained songs like Landslide, and Mad World. These, and others, seemed to sum up the emotions I had at the time.
As I cried out to God with anger all in me, one thing He did was send me songs that would remind me that He was here and that He had me, even if I was angry. Music seemed to be a way God would say, “I get it. I’m here. You are not alone.”
Songs like I’ll Find You by Lecrae, in which the lyrics say, “when you’ve got no one to turn to, just hold on and I’ll find you,” gave me hope. While Leanna Crawford’s Truth I’m Standing On opens with the drawn-out lines, “Scared, oh I thought I knew scared, but I’m so filled with fear, I can barely move. Doubt, I’ve had my share of doubt, but never more than right now, I’m wondering, where are you?”...this song seemed to wrap up in two lines what I was feeling toward God.
As God sang His message into my shattered world, many of those songs found their way onto my playlist and continued to allow me to hear God reassure me. There were times I didn’t think I could make it through something physical I had to do - I wasn’t sure my body would cooperate - and Waymaker would pop up on the playlist like my own personal reminder that He will make a way, and He continuously has.
STEP 3 – PEOPLE
When I first found out about MS, I really didn’t want anyone to know. I felt as though it would change people’s perception of me, and that was part of my anger. But as I continued to wrestle through this anger with God, God kept sending people into my life at just the right time. I know that He probably sent others as well that I was too closed off to see or let in. Please know that the answers we are looking for from God are often sent to us through people. Those people come in all shapes and sizes. They may be friends, family, spiritual counselors, or even a stranger.
I know that God sent me folks in some of my darkest days to shine some light. Because of individuals who listened to that little nudge from the Lord, I found a doctor who diagnosed me with the right kind of MS, progressive not relapsing, enabling me to get on the right medicine. He brought a friend back into my life who was also diagnosed with MS in his 20s. That friend would send me texts at just the right time. God led me to Christian counseling that showed me part of my anger was with myself and that I needed to forgive myself before I could keep moving forward.
So many outstanding people have been sent my way since the diagnosis. I know God was hearing my cries and showing me His grace.
STEP 4 – READ
One of the most important things you can do is find your way into the scripture. I put this as the fourth step because, honestly, it was the hardest for me to do. As I held on to my anger with God, I really didn’t want to read the Bible. I didn’t need to hear or read things like “rejoice always; in all circumstances give Him thanks.” What did I have to be thankful for?
That was how I felt at the time, but as God was listening to me lament, He was also getting me to read more and more. I may not have been sitting with the Bible on my lap, but I was on the internet finding out all I could about MS. As I did that, I would come across an article that had 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.” These words inspired me to keep going.
Eventually I did get back into the scripture. It may have been with a daily devotional, or things I read on my own, but verses like Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” fueled me and kept me moving forward.
All of these things helped me to get unstuck from the anger that wasn’t allowing me to move forward. But there is one more thing I’ve learned after getting unstuck.
What I have learned is that as we start moving forward and we begin to let go of that anger, we have a tendency to slip back into old habits. We don’t keep doing what we did to move forward. Kimberlee explains this fantastically well in her blog 7 Tips to Keep Your Healing.
I still have MS. If I don’t continue to do the above steps because I’ve let go of my anger and am a better person now, then what happens when it’s 98 degrees outside and the heat ramps up my MS symptoms? It is so easy to slip right back into that angry state of mind if I’m not guarding against it with the above steps.
So, I challenge all of you out there who are harboring resentment toward God to give this a try. He hears you and can take your anger, but He also wants to move you forward if you let Him.
I want to thank Kimberlee for the opportunity to guest blog on her site. If you enjoyed this blog, you may want to head over to daytodaychristian and check some of my other blogs. Thanks for reading.