Asking for a friend
|So, here is the question. Can I love God and be really mad at Him too? Is it even safe to voice that question out loud where other Christians can hear me? Since it probably isn’t safe to voice that question, let me qualify it by explaining the kind of rage I am talking about. I am NOT talking about the rage of an infant left squalling in a crib for too long. If you are an infant, you should feel rage when your needs are not met in a loving and appropriate way. Screaming your lungs out because your needs are being ignored is age-appropriate behavior when you are little.|
It is not age-appropriate behavior when you are 40. At some point in your adult life, God expects you to get out of the crib and use that free will of yours to make some maturity choices. It is good for you. Immature anger misdirected toward God is not good for you and is not what I am writing about.
I am writing about believers who find themselves in a desperate situation. Those of us with a sick child; those who are desperately lonely; those who can’t conceive or carry a pregnancy to term; those with a crazy spouse or chronic illness. I am writing about believers who have worked hard to mature; who have stood in faith; who are willing to do whatever God asks them to do, because they LOVE Him.
Feeling like you have gotten a raw deal—one that God could resolve easily if He would just do so—isn’t a comfortable place to be. If you are like me, connecting and reflecting upon those strong emotions feels very unsafe. Especially if you have distanced yourself from the ugly, angry you. Especially if you believe that the ugly, angry you isn’t acceptable to God; that the ugly, angry you is the reason God isn’t answering your prayers and, thus, must go far, far away.
I had a weird dream recently. I’m pretty good at interpreting other people’s dreams but terrible at understanding my own. And the icing on that cake is this: none of my friends and family are able to interpret my dreams either. If I get an interpretation, it is from God or I get nothing. Not sure I want to examine the why on that, but there it is.
So, I had one of my let’s-baffle-everyone dreams. Let me give you some context. Sam and I used to own a children’s entertainment business. As part of that business, we offered high-quality princess and super-hero characters for parties and events. I was completely obsessed with providing the most amazing characters and experience possible.
Here’s the dream. Sam was in the background putting tremendous pressure on me to costume myself as Beauty from Beauty and the Beast in order to entertain at a children’s party. Setting aside the fact that I am in my 60s, even on my best days I do not look anything like a Disney princess. But I felt compelled to comply with his demands, even though I knew I would be a disappointment no matter how I tried to convince myself that I could fool the kids. But I HAD to perform. On top of that, I was late and the arts and crafts were not ready.
Typing that out makes me realize that a dream could not be more obvious; nonetheless, it was days before the Lord explained the dream. Hidden within my heart was the belief that He required me to be the perfect princess in every way before He would heal my son. Since I believed that, I had sent away the “not princess” part of me, the angry and frustrated me, the mad-at-God me that I thought had to go because “she” didn’t have faith.
Let me be clear that nothing I do will ever make me into princess material. (Here is where everyone reading this agrees with me lol). All my efforts to hide my anger and frustration from God; all my efforts to become the perfect believer did not trick God into answering my desperate prayer. As a matter of fact, my crazy just got in His way.
Are you twisting yourself into a perfect YOU in order to get your prayers answered? Might as well stop, dear one. It doesn’t work and isn’t required by God. Here is why it doesn’t work as I understand it.
You and I will never become perfect enough to deserve God’s blessings. We will never be a good-enough Christian. It just isn’t possible and that is OK, because our savior Jesus is perfect and we are in Him (Colossians 3:3). AND (take a deep breath) God’s blessings are not earned.
Look at these scriptures:
Freely you received, freely give. Matthew 10:8
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God … 1 Corinthians 2:12
Don’t be like me! God’s blessings are free! Stop trying to earn them by putting aside your honestly confused and frustrated self. Instead, I want you to embrace that part of you. If anyone needs love and acceptance, it’s the ugly you.
Oh! One more scene from the dream. I kept looking into the mirror, thinking I don’t look like a princess, but at the same time I looked better than I expected. Maybe the ugly me is really the hurt and scared me? Maybe I just need a hug.
So, don’t bother twisting yourself into a prince or princess. It DOESN’T work and actually gets in the way of God’s blessings. Why? Because bribing God with good behavior is actually manipulation. I think the Lord wants to answer our prayers, especially our most desperate ones, but if He responds to our manipulation (no matter how unconscious), we will come away believing that our manipulation got our prayers answered. We would probably teach other people how to manipulate God into answering their prayers.
(I am NOT saying be bad! I’m saying be real, be honest and let that grow into an intimate relationship with God. Godly behavior will flow from that).
So, let me answer my question: Yes. I think you can love God and be really mad at Him. I think it is OK, because the truth sets you free. So hug tight the ugly you that is angry and have an honest talk with God. I have done it and it makes things better.
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32
Hugs and blessings,
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