For three years during my undergraduate studies I experienced significant losses. First was the death of my best friends 18 month old daughter. She was tragically hit by a car and her little life was taken from us far too quickly. My friend had been serving our military over seas for half of her life. The next year was the loss of my then girlfriend’s, now wife’s, younger brother to suicide. I can still remember the shock when I received her phone call. The following year I lost my paternal grandmother. I had parts in all three of their memorial services but it would be years I recognized the unhealthy way I was dealing with those losses.
As a good soldier in God’s army I put on a good face. I made sure that God’s hope still shined through me despite what I was feeling inside. I didn’t like the anger that welled up in me when I thought about all these losses. I pushed that anger down and refused to acknowledge it. Years later I began to realize that this anger was wreaking havoc in my life with God. I felt dried up and disconnected from His grace. God was not at fault. I firmly believe that even in that state God was still with me. I felt that way because I was withdrawing from his presence. I was mad at all the pain I had felt.
Like most people, the losses didn’t stop there. I have experienced many more and each time I am reminded that if I am not careful, bitterness and anger can build up and sour God’s sweet graces toward me as I reject them. The Psalms have become a place where I find solace in these moments. In the Psalms we see others experiencing anger with God and letting Him have it.
1How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
I am convinced that God guided the development of the Psalms and made sure they were included in our Scriptures to show us that he can handle any emotion we can throw at him. Whether we are angry or joyous, He will hear our cries and honor them. I have learned it is far better to take my anger directly to the source and express how I am feeling than to bury those feelings and let them fester and create bitterness in me.
I cannot promise that I always do this well, but when I have, my relationship with God has been far more fruitful and meaningful than when I don’t. If you are reading this and recognize my story as similar to yours, my prayer is that the Spirit gives you courage to bring your anger to God’s door and let Him deal with it. When words escape you in this endeavor, start reading the Psalms until one resonates. Then pray that Psalm. Re-write it in your own words. Meditate on it. Use those words which God has preserved for you as a guide toward finding healing in Him. I promise you that God can handle even the harshest words thrown at Him!