“Are you angry at God because you are suffering, or your child has suffered, and God does not seem to care? Are you angry because you have been robbed of your only child and God did not intervene? Are you angry because there is no justice: the murderer goes free, the drug pusher goes unpunished, life goes on and your child is still dead? Are you angry because God does not put a stop to the whole appalling mess?”
Some parents have buried children because of the wickedness of others. Some children, overwhelmed with pain, have ended their own life. Some made terrible, irreversible mistakes and got into situations they could not get out of.
And now they are gone.
No matter how your child died, there will likely come a moment when you just want it to make sense.
Some of us are okay with waiting until eternity to see the big picture. But many of us want to know – now – what God had in mind by allowing this. They are understandably enraged and they are demanding to know…
Tragically, some have already decided that any answer God might provide would just not be good enough. In their bleeding, battered heart they are shaking their fist at the sky and declaring God’s sovereignty unacceptable. Many are mad at someone they do not even believe exists. They rage at Him because they do not know Him.
Their is no logic in grief.
One does not need to look very far before encountering unspeakable evil in this world, and anger is the right and natural response to it. As I write this, perversions of every sort are being perpetrated, recorded, and posted on the very internet I use to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Infants are being sold into slavery for the twisted pleasures of despicable men. Thievery is commonplace. Deception proliferates. Darkness seems to rule.
How can God possibly redeem the brutal, vicious crimes committed daily against honest men, helpless children and defenseless women? These horrors cannot be undone. There is no conceivable good that can be expected to make up for it. In our limited capacity to understand the ways of God, this is how we think.
So, anger at the Almighty is common, especially among the abused and among the bereaved:
“Why, God did you take my child?! How could you let this happen?”
“What did I do to deserve this terrible loss?”
“Where were you, God?”
“I don’t think you know what you are doing, God.”
“There is no God. And if there is I am mad as _____ at Him.”
“It’s not fair!”
This kind of anger can be annihilating. It will wreck your health, your relationships and what is left of your self. It can fester and grow and spill out all over your life.
In fact, it can crush you.
Anger is certainly understandable and normal, especially when we are hurting. But I am convinced that staying too long in a place of anger is counter-productive and makes the pain of child loss worse by several orders of magnitude for the grieving parent and for those around them.
Unchecked anger hands the victory over to evil.
There is nothing wrong with being angry about the evil going on around us. God is angry about it, too. But we need to be careful about where we direct this anger.
Are you angry at God because you are suffering, or your child has suffered, and God does not seem to care? Are you angry because you have been robbed of your only child and God did not intervene? Are you angry because there is no justice: the murderer goes free, the drug pusher goes unpunished, life goes on and your child is still dead? Are you angry because God does not put a stop to the whole appalling mess?
God is in control and, in His perfect timing, when the last sinner is added to His church, He will make everything right. The worst ugliness that man can dish out to man will be rectified. There will be justice. The apparent delay in no way negates the fact that God is love. He loves you, He loves your child. He loves justice and mercy because He IS Justice and Mercy. No one gets away with anything and it is sobering to consider the torment that awaits the perpetrators of these heinous acts. Unless they turn to God for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, God’s own crucified and risen son, they will pay. Forever.
God’s justice is thorough and it is eternal.
I do not mean that God will merely make it all better. No, it will be much, much more expansive than that. The fulfillment of His ultimate plan will be so far beyond the word “right” – well, there are no words in any language to communicate it.
I have not personally had the experience of being angry at God. That would just be too much for me to carry. I thank Him for His grace in granting me this mercy. I think being angry on top of grieving would send me completely around the bend. Really.
So, for an experienced voice on this topic, here are some thoughts written by a woman who has been all the way to despair and back but, nevertheless, continues to shine with the Joy of the Lord bringing honor to the Master and encouragement to the hurting.
May we all benefit by Joni’s beautiful example.
Joni Eareckson Tada on Being Angry at God – (Excerpts)
“… when doubts started to choke out my confidence in God, I quickly turned it around and reaffirmed my belief in His sovereignty… I have to start talking to myself… I have to remember His power and wisdom and goodness toward me through Christ. And I have to do it quickly.”
“…at the first hint of fear or doubt or anger I rehearsed in my mind everything I had ever learned about His sovereignty: God is good, He always has my best interests at heart; He is kind and merciful and He doesn’t take His hands off the wheel of my life for a nanosecond. He’s in control and He’s got reasons for allowing this.”
“Finally, when tempted to be angry at God, you don’t need to settle for being a cold stoic or hot-headed blasphemer. God has opened the door for you to lament, to bring to Him your doubts and questions, wisely, honestly, and in humility. He bends His ear to His suffering people – and He’s waiting to hear from you today.”
O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.
LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?
They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;
That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.
For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.
Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.