Editorial — It’s OK to feel angry with God

Glenn Rutherford

We’ve seen it time and time again, people crawling from their tornado-splintered home and thanking God that they’re still alive.

Others praise God for allowing them to survive cancer, or escape a flood, or hurricane, or mass shooting.

Parents who lose children sometimes say they take solace in the notion that their child is in heaven, close to the creator.

Only occasionally does anyone acknowledge that they’re upset with God for sending the tornado, or hurricane, the disease or the mass shooter in the first place.

If God is omnipotent and omniscient, we sometimes ask, then why the disease? Why torment those he loves with storms and riots and all manner of tribulations that seem to poison modern life?

Why would a loving God visit these horrors on us? And since these horrors are here, since we see them, read about them, or experience them every day, are we justified in getting mad at God? Can we feel a bit put out that he is testing us so?

Well, it hasn’t taken modern times and troubles to produce anger against our creator.

People have been getting upset with God for centuries, Archbishop Shelton Joseph Fabre noted in his commentary for The Record a couple of weeks ago.

The archbishop wrote that, following the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were conflicted, filled with hurt and emotional exhaustion:

“They had questions. They could have asked ‘Why?’ and ‘How does this happen?’ or ‘How are we going to make it through this?’ They may have asked: ‘Where was God?’ or ‘Why did he let this happen?’ or ‘Where is God now?’ ”

But in the middle of the questions and emotional reactions, Jesus sought out the disciples, the archbishop wrote.

“And when he found them, he said, ‘Peace be with you.’ ”

The same principles can be applied to our current emotional situations. Jesus is seeking out you and me, Archbishop Fabre wrote: “He meets us where we are, wishing us the peace that comes from trust in him.”

Which is the point here.

It is understandable that we have some consternation with God from time to time. And when it comes to that possible anger, it’s important to realize that those feelings, however unsettling they may be, don’t disqualify us from faith, don’t remove us from God’s flock.

In fact, our anger should be recognized as part of our continuing dialogue with the Lord. Pope Francis has said we must “learn to pray with faith, listen to the Lord … and dialogue to the point of arguing.”

We shouldn’t be afraid of an occasional argument with God, the pope said. “Many times I’ve heard people say, ‘You know, this happened to me and I am angry with God.’ ”

God understands that anger, noted Pope Francis. We need, the pope added, to “have the courage to be angry with God.”

The important thing is to keep the conversation going.

GLENN RUTHERFORD
Record Editor Emeritus

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