Devotional Excerpt: GOD, I’M ANGRY AT YOU TODAY
from Renewed by Leigh Powers
A 40-Day Devotional For Healing From Church Hurt And For Loving Well In Ministry
God, I don’t like you today.
You called us here. We came because you said “go.” And we did. We came here — a thousand miles from family and friends — to serve this little church that said they “want a young pastor so we can reach the community.”
Turns out they meant the community that looks like them. People who will work in the nursery, put dollars in the offering plate, and not ask to change a thing.
Good luck with that one.
I see the hope in my husband’s eyes slowly dying. It dims a little with every idea shot down, every deacon who puts a finger in his face before he gets up to preach, every Sunday the self-proclaimed owners of the church stand in the back of the sanctuary and stop talking when we come in.
It’s your fault, God. You brought us here. What have we done but be faithful?
You promised. You promised. I know you are good. I know you are faithful. I know you love us. But what good is it if you don’t come through when we need you?
God, I don’t like you right now. But I don’t have anywhere else to go but to you. Do you care? Do you see?
God, I love you. But I don’t like you today.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion . . . How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? . . . Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (Psalm 137:1, 4, 8– 9, NIV)
Psalm 137 is not on anyone’s top ten list of “Most Frequently Preached Psalms.” It’s a song of bitterness and regret sung by a people in exile — a people who longed for the same fate to be meted out against their captors that they saw befall their children.
The rawness of their anguish is hard to read, but it’s in the Bible for a reason. Psalm 137 and the other lament psalms teach us that we can be honest before God. God is neither surprised nor threatened by our anger. When we find ourselves consumed by an anguished and angry soul, the best thing we can do is pour out our anger in raw honesty before God.
We live in a messy, sin-stained world. Those who are meant to be God’s people don’t always live like it. As ministers and church leaders, being on the front lines of the battle means we get hit by the shrapnel. It hurts, and sometimes anger is our gut-level response to the pain. Anger at ourselves. Anger at our churches. Anger at God, because it’s his fault we’re here in the first place.
When you are angry at God, the worst thing you can do is hide it. Like water on rock, anger has a way of wearing us down and seeping through the weak places. The solution is not to hide our anger but to let it be healed in him. We can’t adequately cope with our anger unless we admit the anger is there. Pour it out in your journal.
Lie on the floor and shake your fist at God. Lay it bare before him — all the anger, all the blame, all the hurt you’ve choked down and left unspoken. It’s not a sign of unfaithfulness; it proves you care enough about your relationship with God to engage in the struggle.
Then be silent and wait. The God who refuses to abandon us in the storm whispers peace to us in the silence. For every Psalm 137 there is a Psalm 138: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me” (Psalm 138:7).
Our God will accomplish his purposes for you. His love is everlasting, and he does not forsake the works of his hands.
Wait on the Lord. God’s grace turns anger into praise.
A Prayer for Today
Lord, I am exhausted by the effort of keeping my anger pressed down. I’m angry at our church, at my family, at our circumstances. But mostly I’m angry at you. We claimed your promises, and it feels like you’ve let us down. We believed and have been disappointed, and I am furious with you. God, meet me here in this moment. Let’s do business together. I’m clinging to you. I won’t let go until you bless me.
For Further Contemplation
Are you struggling with anger at God? What lies at the root of your anger? Do you fear being honest with God about your anger? If so, why? Write out a letter to God explaining your feelings. Don’t hold back. Pour it out. When you run out of words, wait in the silence. God will meet you there.
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