My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.” Psalm 39:3
I yelled at God. I was aggravated because He wasn’t doing things like I thought He should. The truth is, He wasn’t doing anything at all. A difficult situation was just festering, and so was my frustration level. I had prayed so much about this issue. I had begged God to intervene; I had pleaded for His help with my face down in the carpet. I told Him all the reasons why He needed to act on my behalf. I pointed out how devastating this situation would become if He didn’t. The longer the situation drug on the shorter my patience became until I just exploded—at God. I told Him that I couldn’t take this situation any longer. I asked Him what He was waiting for. I asked Him if He was paying attention. I even asked if He was trying to push me over the edge of sanity.
Lest you think I’m being disrespectful and irreverent, God and I have worked out the situation and we are still on very good terms. But I’m telling you this because in our human nature we all tend to get impatient and frustrated with God. Really—it’s okay to admit it. Do you think He doesn’t know?
That day I sat in the floor of my study, my face red and streaked with tears, yelling at the God of heaven and earth—and He never yelled back at me. In fact He didn’t say anything for a long time, He just let me rant on and on until my anger gradually gave way to quiet exhaustion. I leaned my head against the wall, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. And that’s when I “heard” a quiet voice in my spirit say, “Feel better now?” I’m not sure I felt better about the situation, but my anger was spent and I quietly answered, “Yes.” Then the Lord reminded me of the lesson I had taught just a few days before; that God is sovereign over our lives and He is able to take the most impossible situations and bring amazing things from them.
I had talked about Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own brothers, forced into servitude and thrown into prison on trumped up charges, yet God used every step in his journey like rungs on a ladder to elevate him to the second highest position in the province of Egypt and to save the lives of his entire family. Had his brothers not sold him into slavery, he would have never been in Egypt. Had he not worked as a servant and been thrown in prison he would have never encountered Pharaoh’s cupbearer who recommended him to Pharaoh to interpret his dream. Had he not interpreted Pharaoh’s dream he would have never been placed over the entire kingdom’s food resources. Had he not been in that position, his family would have starved to death in the famine and the nation of Israel—along with our Savior—would die with them. Though all his challenges, the Bible never shows that Joseph became impatient or frustrated with God. He quietly trusted God and waited for the Lord to act on his behalf. He believed that God was able to take rejection by his family, slavery and prison and work them all together for a good purpose. I’ll bet Joseph never yelled at God.
So what do we do with our pent up emotions? Deny them? We’ve already established that He knows our feelings. Stuff them? That’s a sure recipe for a pressure cooker explosion like the one I had. Nor do I think God wants us to pretend that we are so spiritual we are not affected by these difficult times.
Remember that we are made in the image of God, and Scripture frequently tells us that God experiences emotions. God feels delight – “The Lord your God . . .will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). God feels sorrow – John 11: 35 tells us that Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. God feels joy – when His disciples returned rejoicing over the wonders they performed in His name, Luke says that He was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit.” And yes, God also gets angry – though His anger is righteous and just. The Israelites angered God on more than one occasion with their faithlessness and idolatry. Job 42: 7 says that God declared His anger at Job’s “friends” because they spoke untruthfully about Him.
God knows that we have emotions – including anger – and He knows that in our finite human minds we get frustrated over things we do not understand. Surely if God would have sat down with me and told me His plan for this situation I would have been able to control my emotions as He worked it all out. But then, that doesn’t require much faith does it?
So that day I had it out with God, and you know, He never berated me for losing control. He didn’t turn and leave in a cloud of offense. He didn’t respond with His own blast of anger at me. He let me purge my heart of all that I was feeling, then like a good Father He wrapped His tender love around me, calming my anxious spirit and assuring me that, indeed He was watching, He cared and He had a plan. And as time moved along, I saw Him faithfully resolve the issue.
Beloved, God is big enough to take your honest emotions, in fact He insists that we come to him in truthfulness—and that includes your feelings of disappointment, discouragement, frustration and, yes, even anger. We do so with honesty and reverence knowing that He will not reject us, but rather draw us close as His child and soothe our hearts with His love. So take all your raw emotions to God and tell Him how you feel, even if you have to yell a little.
Holy Father, I am thankful that You know me so well; You know that I am fraught with human emotions that I sometimes can’t control. Lord thank You for hearing my heart’s cry and for touching the deepest part of me with Your peace and tender love. Amen