Friday, November 7, 2014

Why it is O.K. to be angry at God

I have experienced a great deal of anger in life—betrayal by friends, domestic squabbles, uncooperative kids.  But recently I have experienced a type of anger I have never experienced before and hoped I never would.  As write this, it is with a great deal of guilt—

Hello my name is Ellen and I am angry at God.

In ten days I will have had cancer for five years.  Many of the people who were diagnosed at the same time are celebrating being free from cancer.  Five years with cancer is a milestone, something indeed to be celebrated.  I too am a survivor, but one that is still in the fight.  I too will be celebrating life but it will be tinged with sadness and weariness.  Weary communicates so much more than tired.  It is a tired felt in the body, mind and soul.  and yes, I am angry.

At the beginning of this week I got a stomach virus that had me throwing up.  There should be a rule that you shouldn’t have to suffer petty illnesses when you have cancer.  I know, though, that because of a weakened immune system that the opposite is true.   On the bright side I did lose ten pounds.  Frankly I am weary of looking at the bright side.  There is that word again.  Weary is the tired side of anger.

The illness came after the mountain top experience of attending a Christian Writer’s Bootcamp.  What an amazing three day.  I learned so much my head hurt.  God in his graciousness allowed me a three days of less pain and bleeding.  I am grateful for that.  Really I am, but then when I came back to apply what I learned, I slammed into the valley.  Again, anger reared its ugly head.

Everyone tells me I have a right to my anger. That I have been through a lot in the past five years. But part of me feels like I don’t, that He is the God almighty and He has given me so much.  I’ve felt God’s presence all through my ordeal and He has provided in wondrous ways.

I recognize all that, but there are times, in the midst of throwing up or bleeding through my clothes, I think “Why would he allow this to happen when I just want to serve Him?”  I had to cancel teaching the Bible.  I was crying with pain at church. I have reconciled the why of the cancer as a whole.  It is when the bad is so bad that I question those moments, that pain. I am weary of feeling the pain. 

Then I gain back some of my energy and I that weariness turns to anger.  Then I feel guilt.  But should I?

At least being angry means that I am acknowledging God’s hand in my life, even if I don’t like it; I am acknowledging his sovereignty in the situation and his power to stop it.  And He already knows what I am feeling anyway.

The Psalms are full of every emotion imaginable—including anger.  What I get from that is God is bigger than the vagaries of our emotion. That he can take what we throw up on Him.  He is God almighty and created us as emotional beings.  We are his children—full of love one moment, anger the next. Who among us hasn’t experienced a tantrum or two even from the best of kids? The key is that we remain children of God and we take our anger to Him. Honestly. Broken. Willing to have Him heal us, put us back together.

So go ahead.  Be angry.  God can take it.

Psalm 22[a]

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.[b]

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

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