I’m mad at God.
Not what you expected, is it? Me either.
The preacher and I sat today–not my preacher, just a preacher–and we talked about things we don’t understand. Yes, the preacher has things he doesn’t understand, too. It is a difficult thing to remember sometimes, but they are on the same road as we–still stumbling, often taking wrong turns, and at times, falling into the very ditches from which we are attempting to climb out.
I told him about my troubled young friend who believed that he had run out of options, save one. My young friend took that option, the final act he would perform in this world. The alcohol to numb the fear and the pistol to end the pain were the only tools he needed to do the deed.
I have mourned the loss of my friend. The tears have flowed and been wiped away again and again. As I considered how to express my thoughts tonight, they came again. But, in a strange way, his death is not the reason for my anger.
I am still learning how to be a friend. I am still learning how to reach out to people who are unlovely and unloving–folks who are outcast and lonely.
I have written of my first meeting with the tormented young man. I was afraid to touch him, worried that he was a lost cause from the start. There seemed a good chance that my first encounter with him would also be my last. I thought he was a heartbeat away from doing what he took the next two years to work himself up to.
Two years, during which he stopped by with some frequency. Two years, I picked up the phone any number of times to hear his voice. I thought he was doing much better.
He was better!
I said that, in a strange way, his death was not my reason for being angry. It actually was about his death, but I finally came to realize today that I am angry because I was dragged into a relationship which was always going to end the way it did.
God knew it. He knew it and yet, He brought the man into my life. For two years, I would believe the situation was getting better, and then, one day a simple phone call would tell me that it had been for nothing.
And today–today, as I talked with the preacher, I finally said the words right out loud.
No. I didn’t, did I?
I whispered them.
I’m mad at God.
The whispered words sounded like a shout in my ears. They still do, even as I sit in the quiet of my office and listen to peaceful music tonight.
The preacher knows better than to hand out pat answers to the big questions. He listened. I talked, spilling my disappointment with God out in plain sight.
And as I talked, what I had known all along became clear. That’s the way it often is, isn’t it? The truth lies mingled in among the lies. We just have to peel the lies–our lies–away and God’s truth remains.
Right there where it was all along.
The truth is that He faces the same disappointments with man’s failure, and has faced it from eternity past. He knows rejection of His love is right around the next bend and yet He reaches out His hand again and again.
The pain must be excruciating.
How should we expect any other result if we do His will? What He asks of us is not that we continue in obedience to Him as long as success is guaranteed. He wants us to walk in obedience. Period.
It seems an ugly truth.
I’m still a little mad. Better men than I have been in the same boat. Job, for instance. And, Jonah. Even Elijah had his moment of sulking.
But, here is what I know. God loves me. Even when I’m angry. Even when I’m wrong. He understands my pain, because He has felt the same pain.
We’re talking about it, He and I.
I’ve got an idea that I’ll keep heading along the same road I’ve been on for more than a few years now. There is more work to be done; there are more people to be ministered to.
I wonder who will shove open my door tomorrow?
“There was a man here last night–you needn’t be afraid that I shall mention his name–who said that his will was given up to God, and who got mad because the omnibus was full, and he had to walk a mile to his lodgings.”
(Dwight L Moody ~ American evangelist ~ 1837-1899)
“The Lord said, ‘Do you have good reason to be angry?'”
(Jonah 4:4 ~ NASB)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.