Is It Okay To Be Angry With God?

Daylon was a young man, 25 years old.  He was intelligent, passionate, fun-loving and kind.  He was also deeply in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.  He wasn’t perfect, but Daylon may have been the closest I’ve seen to perfection.  He was a certified pilot instructor, and was training to be a missionary pilot, who would fly into remote areas with supplies and aid for fellow missionaries.  While helping a friend fly a plane to a customer, something went wrong with the aircraft and they crashed over central Arizona. 

When the phone call came to our family that Daylon’s plane had crashed and that he and the other pilot were dead, the news hit us hard.  It was as if someone repeatedly punched us in the gut, only worse. Here was a young man that had so much promise, so much potential to do great things, and his life on earth was over. We walked around in disbelief for hours, and then began to mourn our loss.  My uncle and aunt had lost their precious son.  Our cousins had lost their brother.  We would never see him again, or hear his laugh this side of eternity. We were and still are heart-broken.

In the days that followed Daylon’s death our family received many kind phone calls, emails, and encouraging words, to which we were thankful, but we also had several well-meaning people tell us, “It’s okay to be angry with God.” 

Each time someone told one of our family members this, we made sure to look them in the eye and say to them, “It’s actually not okay to be angry with God.  It’s never okay to be angry with God.”  As our family suggested to different people, “it’s not okay to be angry with God” you could see their eyebrows furrow and they gave us skeptical looks, as if we had gone off the deep end.

What caused them to think it was okay to be angry with God, I wondered?  As I thought about this, I started to notice this idea is everywhere.  Country artist Alan Jackson sings about it in “Sissy’s Song.”[1] New York Times Best-selling novel, The Shack details one man’s anger at God over the death of his young daughter. Movies such as Signs teach us that it is perfectly acceptable to be angry with God.  

What assumptions do people carry around with them that haven’t been examined enough which would lead them to believe that it’s okay to be angry with God? 

There are at least two basic assumptions that many people make that would cause them to think it’s okay to be angry with God, and which would lead them to believe that if you don’t think it’s okay to be angry with God then you’re crazy!

First off, many people assume that feelings don’t matter. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are.  Therefore, if feelings are neutral, than anger at God or anyone else for that matter is neither right nor wrong.  Feelings, they would argue aren’t something that you can control, they just come and go, like tides upon on ocean shore and if they just come and go than they are not moral or immoral, again they just are.  This is probably why people thought we had gone off the deep end when we told them, “It’s not okay to be angry with God.”

To many, a feeling could only be considered wrong if acted upon in such a way as to hurt another person.  This is why many people assume it’s not wrong to be angry at God; because it’s only a feeling, and if it’s only a feeling you can’t ascribe morality to it.

However the Scriptures teach that our thoughts and feelings actually do matter to God.  Within the pages of the Scriptures feelings are both morally good and morally bad depending on how they cause us to think about the Lord.  If they remind us that the Lord is faithful, true and trustworthy than they are morally good, however if they lead us to believe God is anything but faithful, true and trustworthy than they are morally bad.  In fact, Scripture commands that we love the Lord (Psalm 31:23), delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), rejoice and be glad in the Lord (Psalm 32:11) and hope in the Lord (Psalm 33:20).  These feelings are morally good because they provoke in us thoughts that cause us to trust the Lord in a deeper way, and find our satisfaction in His presence!  On the flip side to “delight in lies” (Psalm 62:4), or to “have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12) is morally wrong because it causes us to think that something, in this case sin, is more satisfying than God, which is blatantly false.

The second assumption that many people have is that God’s not really in control.  Many people believe that God created the world, got it going and then left it to its own devices, like a boy playing with a spinning top. We watch young people we love die, we witness marriages collapse under the most terrible conditions, and we observe older people die slow, painful deaths.  It breaks our heart, it crushes our spirit.  When disaster or tragedy occurs on a national or personal level many assume God’s not aware or is indifferent to the situation.  Which would mean He doesn’t care about what He created, and if He doesn’t care about us, why should we care about Him, thus making it easy to be angry with God.  But this isn’t the case. The Scriptures repeatedly reveal that God is in control over His creation and actively involved in the affairs of humanity.  Psalm 135:5-7 declares, “I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.  The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lighting with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”  Even the smallest events in the life of humans is directed by the Lord Himself: Not even one sparrow “will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” (Matthew 10:29). And again, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33).  The truth is God is sovereign, which means He is in control over every aspect of His creation, both the world and its people.  The world is not spinning out of control; God is at work right now behind the scenes working all things together for good, even the things that cause us immense pain.  “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

If you think it’s okay to be angry with God what you’re really saying is you trust your finite mind and your personal feelings more than God’s infinite mind and God’s character, which is why it’s never okay to be angry with God. 

Now I want to make sure you’re hearing what I’m saying, and not hearing what you want to hear. I’m not saying you’re not going to experience heartache and pain, you will. I’m not saying to stuff your feelings and live hypocritically as if life isn’t difficult and sin hasn’t marred humanity, it has. I’m not even saying you can’t faithfully wrestle with God; asking Him why He would allow such things to happen, you can. What I am saying though is it is wrong for any human at any point to be angry at God for any of His decisions: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments (Revelation 16:7).

Well what do we do if we find we are angry at God?  Simply admit it. He knows it anyway; you’re not hiding it from Him.  He knows our hearts.  If we are angry at God, we might as well tell Him, and ask Him to forgive us, and pray the He might give us “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) which will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus and also pray that He will help us keep our eyes on Him instead of on our circumstances.

The Good News is that when Jesus died upon the Cross He completely removed the wrath of God for those who trust in Him. This means when God looks at those who have faith in Jesus all He has for us is His mercy and grace.  He received the wrath we deserved; we receive the life He lived!  There may be times when we cry out to the Lord in pain and heartache, angry at sin and Satan, but continuing to have faith in the Lord, because we trust Him and His eternal plan more than our limited understanding. 

 


[1] Loved ones she left behind/Just trying to survive /And understand the why/Feeling so lost inside/Anger shot straight at God…

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1 Comment

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One response to “Is It Okay To Be Angry With God?

  1. Angela Schemm

    Today, I really needed to read this article. In my heart I am struggling to find peace with God during a very challenging time.

    I’m so angry and so sad that I am so close to acting out. I’m so tempted to give up.

    Reading this article has helped me hold on.

    Thank you

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