Struggling with God
“God, I can’t take it anymore! Why is this happening to me? How can a loving God stand by and do nothing at a time like this?” Have you ever said anything like that to God? Most of us would gasp or cringe at such bold statements. Surely we shouldn’t approach God with such blatancy and irreverence. Most certainly, we should never display anger or frustration in His presence.
For some reason, many Christians believe that we must compose ourselves before we speak to God. Any sentiments besides serenity and gratitude are considered inappropriate. We think we should accept every circumstance with calm resignation, because whatever happens must be God’s will. To question God, or to express frustration, hurt or anger means that we lack faith.
I’m not sure where we get the idea that God frowns upon honest expressions of thought and feeling, especially the negative ones. The examples we have in the Bible don’t support that assumption! Consider these men and some of the things they said to God. Moses: “Kill me and put me out of my misery! I can’t take it anymore” (Numbers 11:10-15). Job: “I wish I had never been born” (Job 3:3). “God, I have some arguments to bring before you about why you’re allowing me to suffer this way” (Job 23:4). David: “Why aren’t you listening to me or answering me?” (Psalm 22.) Abraham: “God, what good are the rewards you’re promising me when you haven’t given me a son?” (Genesis 15:2-3.) The list goes on.
What was God’s response to those outbursts? He struck them all dead for speaking so boldly, right? No! He may have been stern at times, but all of these men were commended for their faith. David was called a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Moses was described as the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3) and a prophet like no other (Deuteronomy 34:10-12). God praised Job for speaking the truth, and Job’s wealth and family were restored to him twofold (Job 42:8-16). Abraham was blessed with a son, the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 21:1-7). Many of them are mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.
These men were not considered humble, faithful servants of God because they put on happy faces and smiled their way through the struggles and turmoil of life. In every circumstance, no matter what they were feeling or thinking, they turned to God. True faith means trusting God enough to be honest with Him. The only way He will be disappointed with us, the only way we can go wrong, is if we turn our backs on Him, hide from Him or think that we can do a better job than He can of handling things.
The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). It doesn’t say, “Wait until you’re happy and have only positive things to say before you approach God.” It says that God cares about the struggles and pain we experience and He wants us to cast our hurts and frustrations upon Him. Only then can we begin to experience true healing. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).