It’s Okay to be Angry at God


Emma Harris

Sometimes, you have to find aa balance. you can’t always be angry at God and you can’t always be happy with him.

I would never have considered myself to be an angry person about seven months ago. In fact, it was an emotion I experienced quite infrequently. But when my mental health declined and my mind became an overwhelmingly dark place to live in, when a chronic, physical illness took the life I had before away and filled every day with pain and an inability to function normally, I found inside of myself not only anger, but a growing rage. Some of that anger, I must admit, is directed at God. 

Anger is the feeling of being out of control. It’s the sensation that you must peel off your skin, that everything is about to implode and you are helpless to it. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. It’s even more uncomfortable when it’s directed at God– in fact, it can feel quite sacrilegious and incite shame. But I’m going to tell you something you’ve possibly never heard here at Westminster: it’s okay. It’s okay to be angry at God. 

Many biblical figures have found anger at God before, Habakkuk, David, and Noami being some of them. The Prophet Habakkuk cried out to God, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!‘ but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2). David calls out in Psalm 89:46 “How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever?” 

Naomi is perhaps the angriest of the three. When called by her name, she told them to call her Mara (a name that means bitterness) “because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me,” she says in Ruth 1:20-21. Ruth even blames God for her problems, confused that He would allow such suffering to occur, made bitter from the suffering. 

All three figures feel abandoned, frustrated, and angry. Why is God not doing more? How is He allowing this suffering? Does He not care? Where has Habakkuk’s God gone? Where has David’s God gone? Where has Naomi’s God gone? When we feel abandoned by God, when we feel He is not doing everything in His power to make things okay, it’s so easy to be angry. It’s so easy to look at this all powerful being and accuse him of not using that power for good. It’s so easy to look at this merciful being and feel His mercy is running short. 

The truth is that God was right there with Habakkuk, David, and Naomi, as good and merciful as ever. But sometimes, as finite and fallen as we are, as steeped in sorrow and grief as we are, as surrounded by brokenness as we can be, it’s hard to feel this way. I’m going to throw out a controversial lyric by Adam Duritz here: “Some chick yells out ‘Jesus loves me more than I will ever know, but less than I need’.” Sometimes, while you know Jesus loves you more than you can even comprehend, it just doesn’t feel like it. It just doesn’t feel like God is there, and you feel as though you need more, even if He is ultimately all that you need. It’s understandable to be angry when you are told over and over again that God is always with you, that He will solve all of your problems, and you feel utterly and completely alone, drowning in your sorrow. 

In moments like these, it’s important to forget how you feel and focus on what you know. You may feel abandoned. You may feel God’s mercy has run out and He isn’t fighting as hard as He could be. But He is here, and He is good, and He has already won against the sorrow- you know that, even if you don’t feel it, even if you’re not sure you really believe it either. Ultimately, God is not the reason for your suffering, and this is to be recognized.

That being said, it’s important to recognize your anger too. It’s important to realize you are angry, and not at the devil like you maybe should be instead, but at God, and it’s okay that your anger is misdirected. It’s understandable, even though it is not justifiable. God is our father. When our father feels absent, when the one who is supposed to be protecting you seemingly lets hardship after hardship crash into your world, anger is an understandable emotion.

It’s not a sin to be angry at God. It’s important to remember that David and Habakkuk’s laments, their angry cries, are written in the Bible not as mere historical records, but as God’s word for us– the Bible is not just a history book, but a recording of God’s voice. The words David and Habakkuk wrote are God telling us that we are going to be angry at Him and He understands this, that He will even provide the words of anger and abandonment to speak. God can handle your anger and your questions– He wants you to come to Him with this anger, He wants you to talk it out with him. He also knows just what to do with this anger; He knows how to heal. Anger only becomes a sin when it leads to hatred. 

It’s okay to be angry, it’s normal to wrestle with your faith, and just because you are struggling with or questioning it, just because you’re frustrated with it, that doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned it completely and that doesn’t make you a bad Christian. Don’t feel shame for being angry at God, because what you do with this anger is what matters. Will you let it drive a wedge in your relationship or will you work to overcome the anger? That is what you should focus on. This is what God cares about.