Many people might have a reason to be angry with God. Just think about these real life situations:
- God allowed my child or my loved one to suffer and die.
- God allowed my child to be born with a birth defect.
- I prayed for deliverance from a bad habit and God did nothing.
- I trusted God and He let me down.
- I hate the body that God gave me.
- God did not protect me / my child / my spouse / a loved one from disaster or accident.
- I prayed for healing / a job / a relationship / a passing grade and God did nothing.
- God burns people in Hell for eternity.
People can be angry at God, but there is not much any person can do about this anger until he chooses to let it go. If you or someone you know would like to deal with being angry, this Bible study may be helpful.
Because the study incorporates many Bible texts, get your Bible out and read each text as you go along. An easier way to do this is to read this article on our website (www.wake-up.org) and as you hover your mouse over each reference, the Bible text will “magically” pop up in a small window.
As you read, contemplate the following six points. Also consider the relevant question: Is your anger toward God justified?
- God is not like us. Before we approach God with our petitions, it is helpful to understand a few facts about Him. God is not like us. No one in the universe is like Him. (Isaiah 46:9) He created everything and owns everything. (Isaiah 40:28–41:4) He rules the universe and calls each star by name. (Psalm 147:4) Therefore, we should not treat or approach God as an equal. Before approaching Him, we should prepare ourselves. If you want God to give special attention to your request, make sure that you have made things right with God and your neighbor. (Matthew 5:23–24) We cannot live like the devil in willful rebellion and expect God to pay attention to our requests. (1 John 5:14–20; Hebrews 12:28–29) If we are living in sin, He will not hear our prayers. (Psalm 66:18–19) Therefore, approach Him with humility and respect. (2 Chronicles 7:14) He is the King of kings! (Malachi 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)
We cannot expect God to respond to our request if wrong doing is involved. God will have nothing to do with evil intent. (Isaiah 45:21; Proverbs 6:16–19) Our requests must be pure and honorable in His sight. Although it is very difficult, each petition we make should be made with total surrender. God has infinite wisdom and foreknowledge so He knows the best solution for each petition. Because God is a God of love, He uses infinite wisdom and omnipotent power to bring about the best outcome. We have to trust Him in this regard. Total surrender requires letting God have the final word.
Finally, when we present our requests (He invites us to do so – Matthew 7:7–8), our motives should be as pure as possible. James wrote, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
- God is not Santa Claus. God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8–9) God never sleeps and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He sees everything and He is everywhere. (Psalm 139:7–10) God is always on His throne and His highest concern is teaching us to trust Him, now and throughout eternity. Although it is not our fault, Adam and Eve’s sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3:22–24; Romans 5:12) We do not naturally trust God. Neither do we want to have fellowship with Him (Romans 8:5–9) due to our sinful nature; so He pursues us. (Romans 5:6) He wants to bring us into communion and fellowship with Him without gratifying our sinful nature! This process is difficult. God wants to refine and purify us and this is contrary to our sinful nature. So, God pursues us because He knows that the closer we come to Him, our true joy and happiness will be greater. He gives each born again person “the fruit of the Spirit” which include love, joy, peace, and happiness, etc. (Galatians 5:22–23; John 14:27) This gift is so powerful that it will make anger disappear. When Moses experienced the goodness of God on Mt. Sinai, he wanted to stay with God. He begged, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” (Exodus 33:13)
- God has a specific purpose for each person. (Jeremiah 1:5)We will only fulfill this purpose if we are willing to obey the Holy Spirit’s voice whenever He speaks to us. (Romans 8:14) If we will walk before God in righteousness and truth, God will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5–6) and answer our prayers. “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10) God will subject each petition we make to His infinite wisdom. It can be difficult to believe that in our darkest moments, God sees our peril and anxiety. During Jesus’ anguish before going to the cross, He sweated great drops of blood. He did not want to die and He cried out, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) The Father’s will was that Jesus should die on the cross. The Father sent an angel to strengthen Jesus so that Jesus could carry out His purpose. (Luke 22:43) And, God will do the same for everyone who surrenders to His will.
When God called Jonah to preach in Nineveh, Jonah ran away because he did not want to go to Nineveh. (Jonah 1:1–3) If God were to reveal His plan for our lives prematurely, we would probably run away too. God’s plan for tomorrow and our present condition are rarely agreeable, so He fulfills His plan for us one step at a time. We cannot see the future that God has for us and this is a good thing!
God will shepherd us if we are willing for Him to lead us step-by-step into the fullness of God’s purpose for which He gave us life. (Psalm 23) We cannot see the future, our need for transformation, or our faults and failings as God sees them. This is a good thing. If we could see our true condition before God, it would overwhelm us. When He saw God’s throne, Isaiah cried out, “ ‘Woe to me!’. . . ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ ” (Isaiah 6:5)
When we make our request to God, we can be intense, but we cannot be demanding. The pot cannot demand anything of the potter. (Isaiah 45:9) On the other hand, we can know that if we humbly approach Him, honoring Him by living up to all we know to be right and true (John 4:23), He will consider our petition and He will do whatever is best! He has promised. (John 15:16) Therefore, prepare yourself and present your request appropriately. Leave it with Him. God is alive. He is not impressed with chants or endless repetition. He hears and He sees. He even knows our situation before we ask! (Matthew 6:8) Trust in God! “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the Earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
- If God determines that a request should be fulfilled as presented, He will gladly do it! (Matthew 7:11; Judges 16:28.29) If He knows that a request is not beneficial, He will deny it. For example, no loving parent allows a small child to play with a sharp knife. If God determines there is a solution to our request, but the solution will take time, He will give us grace and strength to deal with our circumstances. At the same time, He will set a process in motion that will fulfill our request. From our perspective, it may seem that God has said “No” to our petition because it is not fulfilled immediately, but in reality He has responded to our request. He just plans to answer our request later. Looking back, I see that God wanted me to experience patience, faithful endurance, and learn certain lessons before my requests could be answered. Knowing what I now know, I am very happy that God waited to fulfill my requests because, in every case His fulfillment is so much better than what I originally had in mind!
- We do have a carnal nature. Our sinful nature is the main problem when it comes to being angry with God. God is always righteous and fair. He does no evil and He loves each of us enough to die for us! God is not arrogant or arbitrary. He is faithful, changeless, and trustworthy. He is unbelievably generous and selfless. When something painful happens, He shares in our pain. (Genesis 6:6; Matthew 6:24–34) Our sinful nature is selfish to the core. Our nature wants what it wants and when it cannot have it, we become angry and determined (if possible) to get what God has denied us! When God does not answer their prayers, some people retaliate by cursing Him or doing evil to get even with God. These acts do not make the heart joyful. “The mind of sinful man is [destined for] death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is [filled with] life and peace.” (Romans 8:6, insertions mine)
God understands our sinful nature. He understands our natural rebellion, selfishness, impatience, intolerance, and desire for instant gratification. He knows that each sin is a seed that will eventually sprout and hurt the sinner. Whatever a man sows, he reaps. (Galatians 6:7) Therefore, God reasons that if our anger toward Him means separation, He will wait. Maybe a painful harvest from our sin will soften our heart and allow us to receive His offer of peace and joy. God wants to win us over so that we will trust Him! God wants us to love Him so He showers His love on us even before we love Him. His desire is to make our love for Him sprout within us. (1 John 4:19) God blesses the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) God wants us to forsake our sins because sin always produces a harvest of pain, sorrow, and suffering. (Deuteronomy 28:15–20) God delights in showing each person His personal interest and love. Yet, to see the invisible hand of God in our lives, we have to search for God with all our hearts. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Spiritual eyes see spiritual things and it takes some time and effort to understand God’s ways. (1 Corinthians 2:13–14)
There are two realities. We can see the temporal reality with the naked eye, but the eternal reality requires the “eye of faith.” Currently, God lives in the second reality and when a person becomes born again, God gives him eyes to detect God’s presence (2 Kings 6:17), but “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ”(Psalm 14:1) Faith in God is much more than knowing about God. The devil used to live with God in Heaven and he knows all about God. (James 2:19) The devil became angry with God when he could not have his way. His anger began the curse of sin.
Faith in God is a matter of choice. If the Spirit leads us, our faith knows that God will do whatever is best. If we have to wait, He will give us grace and strength to wait. For a person who is controlled by a sinful nature, his faith in God is destroyed when God appears to do nothing! This is why Paul wrote, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, italics mine) If you are angry at God, the best antidote is faith. If you are willing to let go of anger long enough to experience God’s goodness, the Holy Spirit will melt your anger away. (Romans 2:4) God always rewards those who earnestly seek Him. “The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.” (Psalm 25:14)
- God cannot do certain things. In our next study, we will discover that Almighty God cannot do certain things. For example, God cannot override a person’s free will. If a person chooses to stay angry at God, God cannot override his choice! Unfortunately, God is unable to do several things and when He does not do them, people get angry at Him. We will discuss this in our next study.