What makes you mad? Everyone has something that irritates them. A lot of the things that bother me have to do with cell phones. I was excited about them at first. I thought they were such a great invention. But now I have almost come to hate them.
We all have things that irritate us, but it is not good for us to be angry. It actually can be bad for our health. A 2006 Harvard study revealed that 10 million men in the United States were so angry they were sick. Their disease even has a name: Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). Another study found that bad-tempered people are three times more likely to have a heart attack.
Everyone has that one thing or person that sets them off a little or at least irritates them. Everyone has a boiling point. But there is someone we never can justifiably be angry with, and that is God. When I hear people say they are mad at God, my first thought is, Who do you think you are? No one has a right to be mad at God. In fact, the Bible gives us this warning:
Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. (Romans 9:20–22 NLT)
It is ridiculous for us to say we are mad at God. Yet a lot of people today will sing the praises of a God who will give them wealth and success and personal happiness. But they recoil from the idea of a God who would ask for obedience, commitment and sacrifice. They will give God their acclaim as long as they believe he will satisfy their selfish desires. But the moment he does something they don’t like, they get angry with him.
If someone were to say to me, “Well, I am hurt. I don’t understand why something happened,” I can appreciate that. If someone said, “I don’t understand God,” I can see that. If they even said, “I have asked God why …” I can even understand that.
After our son went to heaven in 2008, I said in a message that nothing is wrong with asking God why. When it later aired on the radio, a man wrote me to say how much those words had helped him, because his son was murdered. He could not understand it. Since then, he has forgiven the person who took his son’s life. That person even became a Christian shortly before he died. This father is now trusting God, knowing that he will see his son again.
Even Jesus asked why. He cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). It is OK not to understand. It is OK to question. But don’t tell me that you are mad at God.
You may have a lot of questions for God. Maybe you are even keeping a list of things you want to ask him when you get to heaven. But I would suggest that when you actually see God in all of his glory, you will forget about your questions. As one commentator put it, “I had a million questions to ask God, but when I met him, they all fled my mind, and it didn’t seem to matter.”
When people say they have lost their faith because of something bad that happened, I must respectfully question whether they had real faith to begin with. A faith that can be lost is no faith at all. Randy Alcorn has wisely said, “A faith that can’t be shaken is the faith that has been shaken.” You will be tested in your faith as life passes by. And if your faith is genuine, it will not go away or dissipate, and you will not lose it. It actually will grow stronger through times of difficulty.
We can accept the idea of suffering in some instances, but we struggle with the idea of undeserved suffering. The real reason we get upset with God is because we don’t like what he does. But, as Chuck Swindoll pointed out, “God is able to do what he pleases with whomever he chooses whenever he wishes.” This is called the sovereignty of God. We don’t always like it, because it is not what we want. But God can do what he wants when he wants to do it.
This is what we find in John’s story of a man who was born blind. The disciples saw him and asked Jesus, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” (John 9:2 NLT). In other words, “Well, Jesus, whose fault was this? Why is he sick?” But there was a problem with their theology. They failed to realize that godly people can suffer, too.
Jesus told them, “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins. This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (verse 3). God wanted to display his power, and therefore he healed that blind man.
But we must also recognize there are times when God will not heal the blind. He will not raise the dead. He will not do what we ask him to do. And it is then that we must trust him. It is then that we must do what Job did when his whole world fell apart and say, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:20 NLT). Job did not say that he understood what was going on. He simply trusted God. And we must do the same.