This is the final segment in the series that identifies the last three reasons we might be angry at God, and the Biblical responses to their issues. If you have not read the previous two articles in this series, please review them before proceeding.
6. I prayed for a healing / job / relationship / passing grade and God did nothing.
We can ask God for anything, but it is important to know that since God loves everyone similarly, He cannot show favoritism. (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11) What He does for one person, He does for everyone! Jesus described this principle when He said the Father causes the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) If you cherish anger toward God because He did not perform the miracle you desperately wanted, it could be that you asked Him to do something that He cannot do!
God does not perform a miracle, except the miracle of rebirth, unless there is a larger purpose for the miracle than the miracle itself. God raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43,44), but Lazarus died again. Jesus resurrected Lazarus to prove to everyone (especially the leaders of Israel) that the Father sent Jesus and that He will resurrect the dead at the last day. (John 6:44; John 11:24) Jesus also resurrected Lazarus to show the Sadducees that, contrary to their religious beliefs, resurrection was possible. (Acts 23:6) Later, with God’s power, Paul raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:9,10), but Eutychus died again. Eutychus’ resurrection was performed to prove that God had chosen Paul, who had previously persecuted the saints, to be a servant of Jesus Christ. Peter also raised Dorcas (also called Tabitha), but she died again (Acts 9:36-40). God used her resurrection to prove that the disciples’ testimony was true and to end the confusion in Joppa whether Jesus was alive. The leaders of Israel had paid people to spread the rumor that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body. (Matthew 28:12-15) Dorcas’ resurrection disproved the lie.
Consider two illustrations when God’s purpose for a miracle was more important than the miracle itself: First, Darius threw Daniel into a lion’s den (Daniel 6:22) and God shut the lion’s mouths so the lions did not eat Daniel alive. God performed this miracle so that He could use Daniel to help set His people free from captivity. Second, Nebuchadnezzar threw Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego alive into a fiery furnace and God performed an astonishing miracle. He saved His three servants so thousands in Nebuchadnezzar’s government could observe firsthand that the God of the Jews was a living God! The following verse summarizes God’s higher purpose for miracles: “So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there [at Iconium], speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.” (Acts 14:3, insertion and italics mine)
It seems to be a contradiction in terms to understand that Almighty God has limitations. God cannot show favoritism because He loves everyone equally. Currently, the curse of sin limits God, because He cannot cancel or alleviate the curse of sin for one person until He does so for everyone. For the past 6,000 years, God has permitted the curse of sin to run its painful course on Earth because He is complying with a plan that He prepared before the world was created. When His plan is completed, He will never permit the curse of sin to exist again! This will be a profound accomplishment if you properly understand the ramifications of free will.
Billions of years from now, God’s universe will be larger than ever and there will be billions of newly created freewill beings who can choose to sin if they wish. In the past, sinless, perfect, freewill beings such as Lucifer have chosen to sin. One third of the angels chose to sin and so did Adam and Eve. However, once the curse of sin is over on Earth, God will not allow it to exist again. God will attempt to stop any person tempted to sin by sending thousands of ex-sinners to his doorstep. If their pleading testimony about the curse of sin does not dissuade him from sinning, God will justifiably annihilate that person on the day that he sins. A universe of intelligent freewill beings will understand that a righteous God, a God of love, did the right thing! Currently, God is working toward His eternal goal by allowing sin’s curse to mature. So, He cannot cancel or alleviate the curse of sin (sorrow, pain, suffering, and death) until He does it for everyone! (1 Corinthians 15:26)
A blessing is quite different, but just as valuable as a miracle. A miracle can override favoritism, the curse of sin, and all physical laws because of its high purpose. A blessing does not alleviate sin’s curse, does not show favoritism, and does not override any physical law. Only a God of love can figure out how to give endless blessings to His children within these stringent limitations. God reveals His blessings in varying ways. They can be very obvious (on the surface, they can even appear to be miracles) or they can be very subtle and hard to detect (on the surface, they can appear to be an expected outcome). Often, God does not get the credit for the many blessings that He produces because people interpret them as “natural” consequences.
Many people think that they have created their good fortune due to their own prowess. They mistakenly think their achievements are “their” achievements when in reality, God blessed them with opportunity and success. God works through the freewill of people every day to produce blessings for other people. Thomas Edison chose to invent a light bulb because he wanted to, but God used his success for all mankind. Have you ever considered how people end up doing whatever they choose to do, but on the whole, the world benefits in wonderful ways from their successes? I am very happy that some people love to take care of horses. If that responsibility rested on me, the world would not have many horses! Grinning… A God of love distributes blessings and gifts to everyone and brings together the right people with amazing abilities at the right time to benefit the world.
When God Says “No” or “Wait”
If God determines there is no solution for our request, He will say “no” and give us grace to deal with the situation. This is where we must have faith in God. If we could see as God sees, we would agree with Him that “no” was the best response. If God determines there is a solution, but that it will take time to produce the best possible result, He will give us grace to deal with the situation while He implements the process that brings the desired blessing at the best time. If you are angry at God because of impatience, ask Him for grace to trust Him more! You will be blessed if you do and your anger will melt away!
7. I prayed for deliverance from a bad habit and God did nothing.
God does work miracles today, but not usually in a way the world desires. One day, the Pharisees and Sadducees challenged Jesus to prove that God had sent Him. Jesus responded, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4) Jesus knew that a miracle proves nothing if the heart is not prepared to receive the larger purpose for the miracle. The detractors had seen many miracles, but miracles only made them more defiant. Therefore, the only sign that Jesus would offer Israel’s leaders would be the miracle of Jonah. They knew that a fish swallowed Jonah and a miracle had delivered him from death.
A God of love cannot give a miracle to deliver one person from a bad habit or addiction without working a miracle for everyone. God cannot alleviate sin’s curse today and He cannot violate the physical laws that govern our bodies unless He does this for everyone who asks. God can help a person with an addiction by bringing a tremendous blessing to the addict if the addict will enter into a faith relationship with Him and take some necessary steps. In 1935, God gave Bill Wilson (no relation to me) and Dr. Robert Smith a “12 Step Program” to overcome addiction. When an addict carefully follows this program, it is powerful and effective for all types of addictions. I am not aware of any program that has better results. Given that addictions are rampant, every church should offer or support this inexpensive program.
Addictions can start in different ways, but they always produce the same outcome: Slavery. God knows that an addiction overrides freewill (a captive has no freedom), but God has provided a way an addict can become a free-man. The 12 step program teaches addicts how to trust God for divine strength, moment by moment if necessary. The program teaches an addict how to find peace with God, his neighbors, and his past. It also teaches the importance of personal responsibility and accountability to others and last, but not least, humility. Humility is knowing that “but for God’s amazing grace, I am a forever an addict.” Those who succeed in the 12 step program are those who experience the one miracle that God will always perform when asked!
The One Miracle God Always Performs
The one miracle which God always performs when properly asked is the miracle of rebirth. When a person comes to a place where he:
– wants to avoid the temporal foolishness and empty pleasures of sin
– feels a deep need for God’s approval
– wants to experience the fruit of the Spirit with God and his neighbors
– wants the assurance of salvation
– wants power to overcome the desires of his sinful nature
and he is willing to give himself wholly over to God – to go, be, do whatever God wants – God responds by working a miracle! He will create a new heart and new mind within that person. God will also give him a “deposit” of the Holy Spirit power to keep him on the right path so that he can live a life of victory! (2 Corinthians 1:21,22)
The wonderful element about this miracle is that if a born again person asks for a daily dispensation of God’s grace, He refreshes each one. God’s grace is much more than unmerited favor. His grace includes the strength to resist temptation, the strength to be honest and forthright, the patience of Job, and the faith of Jesus! If you are angry with God because you prayed for help and are still living as captive to an addiction, there is a way out. Join the nearest 12 step program and participate expecting that God will work a miracle within you, one step at a time. He can restore your freedom!
8. God burns people in Hell for eternity.
Finally, some people are angry at God because they think that He will burn people in Hell for eternity. Millions of Christians are convinced that God will burn people with eternal fire, but they are not worried. These Christians believe this punishment does not apply to them because they think God has saved them. When non-believers hear this doctrine, many want nothing to do with God. Through the centuries, the devil has used this doctrine to create a lot of contempt for God by making Him seem cruel and unfair! Even a child understands that fairness or justice require punishment to be commensurate with the crime.
God did state the penalty for sin before sin began. “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) The penalty for sin is not burning in hell for eternity, the penalty is death! (Romans 6:23) God has postponed the penalty for sin until the time comes for Him to purify Earth. Nobody is burning in hell right now. In reality, if burning in hell forever is the penalty for sin, Jesus did not pay the price required!
The Bible does teach God will destroy the wicked by fire. However, hell will serve two purposes. First, the wicked have to suffer in the fire based on the amount of suffering they imposed on others. (Romans 12:19) After restitution (justice) has been achieved, the wicked will then die. They will no longer exist and will become ashes. (Malachi 4:1-3) Second, after God purifies Earth, He will create a new Heaven and Earth with no more sea or lake of fire! (Revelation 21:1) If you are interested in this topic, please examine this article: https://www.wake-up.org/hell/sinners-burn-hell-eternity.html
God Can Transform You
I have found that most people’s anger with God will disappear after they thoughtfully investigate what the Bible reveals about God’s ways. If you or someone you know are struggling with anger at God, ask Him for grace. He will bless you by sending the Holy Spirit. It may take a few weeks before the anger is entirely gone, but if you ask Him to transform your feelings, He can do it! In fact, the strongest evidence for proving that God is alive is that God can do something within us that is otherwise impossible. Once you experience His power, you will know that He lives, He hears you, and He sees you. Most of all, He is working out a plan for all of us that will someday prove to be a better blessing than we can imagine. (Matthew 25:34)