How many years ago did our church change from legalism to grace-based? Years. I was pretty angry with God back then. I lost 2,000 years of Hebrew relatives, ancestors I could trace back to the ten tribes of Israel and even back to Adam and Eve. My family.
I was a part of something big. I had the truth. I was important, special, set apart, and the vast majority of everyone else in the world wasn’t. They were wrong. They were deceived. I was right and attached to being right, judgmental of those who didn't know. Actually I was putting myself in the place of God. But let’s skip that and move right along.
Then I was told that much of what I had devoted more than 30 years of my life to was in error, not necessary, and that we were a cult. I had done what I thought God wanted me to do, and what did I get for it? At that time, I was only saved by stepping into the peace in the eye of the storm—my relationship with God. Time passed, but I was still angry. I expected my obedience and submission would be rewarded by a pleasurable life, a wonderful marriage, a beautiful home, children who loved me, social events, and in my retirement years I’d be financially secure, do meaningful volunteer work and travel throughout Europe. But God did not meet my expectations. I was miffed, peeved, disillusioned.
Are you angry at God? Oh no. Who could be angry at God? I’m not angry at God. Think again. What in your life isn’t what you planned for yourself, what you wanted? What gnaws at you still? What are your regrets? What do you wish had been better? If issues from the past, even from childhood, still bother you, there could be a barrier between you and God.
Once, after listening to my litany of woes from childhood to the present, a friend told me, “Well, you must think you’re a victim of God.” What a shocker! But it was true! What could I do? My first solution was to mostly avoid the whole question and shove it down with TV, busy-ness and over-spending, too much food, too many worthwhile projects and computer games. I had prayed and prayed, and my dissatisfaction with God didn’t budge.
Here’s what finally worked for me. I hope it will help you too. Life is a program of action. This is your assignment. Give it a try. How about sitting down in a comfortable chair in a quiet spot with pen in hand and writing down everything you don’t like about your life and what’s happened to you? Start your sentences with, “God, I am angry at you because …” or “I’m mad because …” Take stock of resentments from the past that are still smoldering in your mind today. They’re blocking you from true surrender and trust in your relationship with God. Ultimately, I found that everything I wish were different in my life is God’s fault. You see, I don’t know the plan. I’m not God.
Finally, I read my list out loud to God from my living room chair. I cried. I told God I didn’t like being angry at him but I couldn’t heal these long-term resentments. I lifted my many pages of writing over my head and told God he’d have to take them. It was hurting me to hold on to them. I sang my favorite hymn. I can’t say that anything special happened to me at the time, but I’m not angry at God anymore.
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