Mad at God? 5 Ways to Overcome Your Anger

The following is an edited excerpt from my new book, How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret.

We sat in the quiet of the church sanctuary, two chairs pulled together, our knees almost touching, listening to the faint laughter and conversation in the hall behind us as women lined up during the lunch break. Just a little while before, as I was speaking to the group, I saw her tears fall and thought she might need some more time just to talk. Just to be. Just to say out loud whatever was bothering her. Sometimes as a wife and a mom, you don’t always get that opportunity.

She started telling me about her kids. Her son was nine with muscular dystrophy. He was starting to have enough difficulty walking that they knew he probably needed to start using a wheelchair soon. Her daughter, a little younger, had autism. This young mom sat in front of me, looking helpless and tired and worn down and much older than her actual age. As her tears fell and she wiped her nose with a tissue, she assured me over and over how much she loved her kids. But then she took a breath and looked at me, ready to unload what I’m sure was on her heart during that morning’s session.

“I love my kids. But I’m not sure if I love God anymore,” she said. “I don’t understand how he could allow these things to happen to my kids. They’re kids. They’re innocent. Neither one of them will ever have the chance to just be normal. My son may not even grow up to be an adult.” She paused. “What did they do to deserve these lives they’ve been given?” Her lip trembled.

“I’m so mad at him,” she said. “I stopped praying a long time ago, because he didn’t seem to answer anything I asked. Why would God do this? Why would he do this to children? Why would he do this to my husband and me?”

Things happen in our lives, hurts and disappointments and tragedies we can’t explain and don’t understand. If you’re not a Christian and you don’t have that relationship with Christ, you might be prone to say God is out to get you. But if you are a Christian and you do know Christ and his love and you strive to follow him and live for him, you may not want to say God is out to get you out loud, but you secretly may still wonder deep down if he is—or at least you question what he’s thinking….

 

5 Ways to Deal With Your Anger Towards God

1. Realize you have a choice.

No one makes you angry with God. You choose that feeling, and when you allow resentment to separate you from God, to build up a wall of your own making, you choose a form of bitterness over his love. Don’t be bitter. Don’t throw away the goodness of God in your life. Sometimes when we say we’re angry with God, we’re really just afraid he can’t do anything about our hurts. Choose to give your pain to God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

 

2. Look for truth in the situation.

When we’re angry or upset with someone else, there’s often some truth to why we’re upset. But when we’re angry with God, it’s usually because of a lie we’re accepting as truth. Maybe we think if God loved us enough, bad things wouldn’t happen, or if God were really as all-powerful as his Word says, a close family member wouldn’t be so sick or a friend wouldn’t have died. But we can’t hold these kinds of statements up to the Bible, our standard, and see them as accurate.

God doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t hold grudges. What he does is right and good. Our incomplete comprehension of who God is sometimes makes it harder for us to understand what he does and why he does it. When you find yourself getting frustrated with God’s action or lack of action, as interpreted by your own observations, pull out Scripture that reminds you of who God truly is. Here are some verses to get you started:

Jeremiah 10:10—He’s the true God, the living God, and the “eternal King.”

Isaiah 45:18—He alone is God, and there is no other.

Hebrews 4:16—We can come to God with confidence and find mercy and grace in him alone.

Isaiah 26:4—We can trust in God forever because he is everlasting.

Jeremiah 23:24—We cannot hide from God.

 

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3. Ask questions.

You may have grown up in a family or a church where your faith or even your very salvation was suspect if you ever questioned God. But Job was a man who by God’s own admission had done nothing wrong, and he still experienced great personal problems and questioned God about them. So go ahead—ask the hard questions. Write those questions out in a journal, if it helps. Write out your thoughts to God while you’re there. Let your questions form into prayers, and understand God wants to listen to it all because he shows his love and his grace to his children. Ask him for deeper understanding as well.

4. Reinforce your trust.

At some point, through some circumstance or situation in your life, God showed you he is trustworthy. Think of those times when you trusted him with everything, and he provided what you needed. God doesn’t change. He is the same God who provided for you then, and he will still provide for you now. Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” That means it’s better to trust in God than in ourselves too.

5. Pray.

Just as it’s hard to stay mad at someone you keep praying for, it’s hard to stay mad at God when you hold that line of communication open through prayer. Prayer builds our faith, it builds our trust, and it helps keep our perspective where it needs to be.

God is God. He is sovereign and he is in control. We are not. So when we allow ourselves to get mad at God, we’re saying we don’t trust God enough to lead us, to provide for us, to understand our needs. But we know from his Word that he does, and we must take that to heart. We must believe.

 

Is there someone in your life who you’re struggling to forgive? Read my new book, How Can I Possibly Forgive: Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret, available NOW wherever books are sold. Or order your signed copy from my online store at sarahorn.com/shop.

 

 

9 Comments

  1. Ellen on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    On July 20, 2017, my husband Lionel died from cancer. I’m a born aagain Christian and have been saved since I was 13 years old. I’m 70 now. I loved God and had a passion for him but now I find it hard to pray and reluctantly go to church. Please help me. I don’t like feeling sad and angry like this.

    • Malgorzata ( margie) on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 5:16 am

      Ellen, I just came across this website accidentally.
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief is so cruel and it bites so hard. I to have had many losses in my life starting at the age of 4. One thing I realize that God wants our whole heart first. All the beautiful things that bestows to us on this earth are gifts. We live in a finite world the proof is even in the seasons. I encourage you to return to God and he will fill your heart. I can only say this because I have just experienced death too. My 28 year of marriage really was 18 years. I’m struggling with my husbands choices, I’m not struggling with God. Actually, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my comforters. I will pray for you Ellen specifically that your scales from your eyes will fall and you can see how amazing Our God is… Florence and the Machine has a beautiful music video called Big God. You can tell she sings about suffering but hear the message, please. In Christ my sister

    • Vickie on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 4:37 am

      Oh, Ellen! Don’t give in *now.* That’s just Satan trying to steal your gold ring because *he* doesn’t get a turn on this merry-go-round. You’re almost Home, girl! Your man went on ahead of you to *Paradise* and will be there to greet you the instant you pass out of this world and into the next. He’s having HIS party and is also preparing for *your* party! If you were 30, you’d have to wait 40 more years to get as close to where you are now. If you were 40, that’d still be 30 more years. **You are almost Home, Ellen!** Every day is one day closer to a place where there is no more sorrow, or tears or pain or sickness or death. You will see your loved ones AND you’ll be with Jesus, who’s been waiting more than 2000 years to meet you — and, boy, do you have some great surprises coming (I mean the kind of surprises that make you weep with happiness — not the kind of “surprises” this dying world has to offer)! You. Are. Almost. Home!

      Until you get there, just do your best to 1) pray and 2) keep busy when you’re not praying. You didn’t mention ill health, so here are some tips to stay busy. Foster a dog or two from a nearby shelter — you can love them till someone adopts ’em and then get a new one … or you can adopt one yourself. Or try cats. Or birds. Or children, if you’ve got the heart and energy (with the drug epidemic now having reached every single corner of America, the number of children in foster care, staying in hotel rooms, office buildings and group homes, is staggering!). Pets are easier, but children are more rewarding, I think. Sing in a choir. Take up bowling. Go skydiving and increase your chances of “crossing over” sooner while igniting the world with your zest for life! Can’t you see the headlines? “70 Yr Old Woman Leaps From Plane With Newly Adopted Cat” This would probably blow that cat’s brain clean out it’s ears … but, oh! what a story for the kids you read to in the group home!

      Whatever you do, Ellen: **Do not give up.** Screw Satan and his plans to keep us paralyzed in fear and depression. We belong to the Almighty, All Powerful and Very Real God and that God has everything under control.

      I hope you feel better soon, Ellen. Death of a spouse is hard. It’s like losing a limb. Or an internal organ. Maybe both. 🙁 God knows this. He is your Man now. He will walk with you. God LOVES orphans and widows. 🙂

      I pray you find peace. And meaning in between the here and the ever-after. I look forward to meeting you one day. All of this (earth) will seem laughable. We’ll have coffee. Or whatever they drink there and swap stories.

      Peace, love and hugs,

      Vickie

  2. Malgorzata (margie if you can’t pronounce it) on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Ellen, I just came across this website accidentally.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief is so cruel and it bites so hard. I to have had many losses in my life starting at the age of 4. One thing I realize that God wants our whole heart first. All the beautiful things that bestows to us on this earth are gifts. We live in a finite world the proof is even in the seasons. I encourage you to return to God and he will fill your heart. I can only say this because I have just experienced death too. My 28 year of marriage really was 18 years. I’m struggling with my husbands choices, I’m not struggling with God. Actually, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my comforters. I will pray for you Ellen specifically that your scales from your eyes will fall and you can see how amazing Our God is… Florence and the Machine has a beautiful music video called Big God. You can tell she sings about suffering but hear the message, please. In Christ my sister

  3. David on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The unbearable suffering of mental illness makes all this impossible. Your thoughts?

  4. Cassi M on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I lost my boyfriend in an accident on 3rd Feb 2019.. v wa in a relationship for almost 6 years.. v wa planning to get married in 2020.. I don’t know why did this happen. He was an amazing guy. He gave d as much as he could. He was caring. He was protective. He was loving. Everyone loved him. And this happened. I spoke to him just 2 hours ago before this could happen. I m so mad at God. Bt I know that he is the one who would comfort me and keep me in peace. Bt at times I m like ..why did you do this..was there no other way out..y could you not save him..why did u not think of me .. I had started to pray daily .I use to wake up morning prayer. I used to pray while travelling .. 2019 I started with all this changes..I prayed more .. Bt den why did dis happen.. ? Bt I have no answers from God to all of my questions.. I feel so lost..

  5. Karen L. Roberts on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I have been a believer since I was 5, and my world was rocked in June 2015 when my husband of 45 years went into cardiac arrest while driving the car, spending 9 days on life support until my sons and I had it turned off. This was on the heels of 4 years of very difficult life issues to deal with, and precipitated health issues for me. In 45 years of marriage I was only hospitalized for the births of our sons, in spite of the fact that I have chronic lung disease. Since he died, I have been hospitalized twice for issues I had never before had, and was in 2 car accidents in 6 months when other cars hit me. I spent 1 1/2 years in physical therapy and other treatment for back and neck injuries which will never be completely healed, and life has been hard. I was very angry at God, and spent time stomping around my living room shaking my fist and yelling at God. I knew God was in control, that He is good, etc., but I somehow had to yell at someone. A wonderful Christian counselor, a great church, and the love of friends and family have gotten me through. I am much farther ahead than I was even 6 months ago, and growing at a good pace. God is a Good God, and we should not condemn those who are angry at God, but share His love with them, and just ‘be there’.

  6. Edwin on Monday, September 9, 2019 at 6:55 am

    The other option is to simply accept that maybe that God isn’t real. I know that it’s hard to accept that when, like me, you were conditioned to believe that no matter what awful things happen to you it’s God’s plan – but when that just didn’t make sense anymore I had to admit to myself that for all of the years I prayed and lived faithfully, nothing miraculous happened. Good things and bad things have happened to me, people who hurt me have gone on to live happy prosperous lives without any divine justice, and none of the rationalizations make sense anymore. I just had to step back and ask the obvious question; what if he’s just not there? It’s actually kind of refreshing — it’s not that I’m a bad Christian or that I don’t have enough faith or that God who is supposed to love me does not. He’s just not there. I listened to a podcast called “Life without God” by a minister who went through the same time and it helped a little. But I’m still stuck with the life-long conditioning that my imaginary friend is supposed to help me. He won’t, he’s not real.

    • Matt on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 11:48 am

      I’ve come to the same conclusion. Either there really is NO God, or he’s awful lacking in judgement and very selective at who he helps to happiness.
      Either way it’s a cold, dark world and he’s no where to be found. NO WHERE.

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