It is far more often than we like to admit that one hears of another being angry at God, or even being himself angry at God. The reasons range on a spectrum that cannot be quantified. I have heard teenagers list reasons along the lines of friends not having their back to a girlfriend breaking up with them, all the way to a friend committing suicide. The question stands, why is it that we get angry at God?
Recently, we were at church camp at Falls Creek with our student ministry. The students were asked to give their testimonies, sharing their story and how God has worked in their lives. Throughout the week, the students opened up, sharing more and more. We went from 30-second testimonies to 20 minutes stories and then had students asking if they could share more. There is power in a testimony!
Each student has a unique story, some more intense than others. As some students shared their hurts and struggles that they have faced, a common theme was their anger that they had directed toward God throughout the process. Yet, the stories of their friends helped them to realize that God is not a moral monster, out to ruin lives, but a wonderful Savior out to resurrect the dead lives of sinners!
The personal involvement that each student had with these situations caused them to direct their anger not at Satan, but toward God. We must realize that the broken system on which the world operates is not due to God, but Satan. Through their stories, they saw God as hope and not hate. Through the stories, they saw God as joy and not worry. By seeing this, their anger toward God turned to joy in His love.
I have been reading through the book of Ezekiel recently, and have come across a recurring theme. The Israelites had “forgotten” God and gone after idols, for which God punishes them. Then, God punishes the nations that are against Israel and against God in general. Yet, the Israelites continue to say, “The way of the Lord is not just” (Ezekiel 18:25; 33: 17). To this, the Lord says, “It is their own way that is not just” (Ezekiel 18:25; 33:17). God continues, “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways” (Ezekiel 33:18–20).
Whether it be anxiety, depression, the loss of a friend or a loved one to cancer, to suicide, or even to a random shooting, we all can get angry. It is so easy to direct this anger toward God. We want to, as Israel has done, justify what is happening on earth by claiming God is not just.
Yet, the One whom we say is not just, is the One who not only can make all things just, but will make all things just!
It was easy for Israel to try to blame God when it was actually their own selves that they had to blame. We can identify with our own anger as someone when we know deep down that it is actually the fault of none other than our own selves.
A Just God
David writes, “Good and upright is the Lord” (Psalm 25:8). The justice of God is simply the outflow of the nature and love of God (Isaiah 61:8). Further, the psalmist writes, “He loves righteousness and justice” (Psalm 33:5). Not only is this reflective of God’s nature, but His very character. We know this as Moses writes, “The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4). His judgments are not partial, but just (Revelation 19:2).
A Just Faith
We receive this personally as God is the “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). Faith is accessed through the blood of Jesus, by which we are saved.
His justice is in our forgiveness.
You see, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God’s justice is extended to us in justification, making it “just as if we have never sinned!” If that is not reason for praise and a party, then I don’t know what is!
It is and will be easy to doubt God and carry an anger or resentment toward God for the things we see and experience in this broken world. Proverbs imparts much needed wisdom, “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers” (Proverbs 21:15).
The justice that is to be carried out by God may not yet be carried out, but you best believe this, it will be! All the crazy end times stuff aside, God will judge each person according to his/her actions, and deal with them accordingly. In the mean time, it is easy to get angry at what we see and experience, but know that God will make just each action from the dawn of time to the end of time. Our anger should actually be anticipation. Anticipate the great day of the Lord, that is coming, for we shall be in joyful communion with the Lord of lords and King of kings!
We must hold to one simple, but difficult, truth: God is just! Remember this. Believe this. Prioritize this.