Of course you feel angry at God for not answering prayer! He lets bad things happen every day: death, infertility, earthquakes, fires, floods, and even “little” things like depression, divorce, drama at home, work and school.
Feeling angry at God is a normal, healthy human emotion. We live in a broken world (which is also beautiful and amazing in so many ways!). We live with pain, loss, grief, and destruction (but also with joy, beauty, creativity, and love!). We live with broken hearts (and resilient, healed, whole hearts, too).
The key to being a happy, healthy woman—whether or not you follow Jesus—is to learn how to deal with anger at God. This is tricky, especially if you can’t pray but want to talk to God. Dealing with angry feelings is crucial to your emotional and spiritual health. If you walk around angry at God all day, you’ll take it out on your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. And then not only will you be still angry at God, everyone around you will angry, too. But not at God. They’ll be mad at you for ruining their day. See how important it is to learn how to deal with anger at God?
Remember when Jesus walked the earth? Probably not; you weren’t born yet. I don’t remember either, but I learned this from the gospel of Matthew: Jesus got really angry—grieved in His spirit—when He saw Mary weeping over her brother Lazarus’ death. Jesus was angry at death, destruction, pain, and suffering.
And so are you. You’re angry at pain, loss, destruction, disappointment, and death. And yes, you’re angry at God, too…but you’re angrier at how unfair life is, how hard the world can be, and how painful it is to be a broken, suffering human being in a broken, suffering world.
One of the best things about God is you can tell Him anything. You can shake your fist, stomp your feet, yell your lungs out, and even turn your back on Him. God isn’t like a human husband who might get hurt, offended or angry at you. God isn’t a dog or cat that peed or pooped on your bed and doesn’t understand why you’re so angry (though my dogs and cat know exactly why I get mad when they pee and poop in the house!).
God knows you’re angry, and He is asking you to talk to Him about it.
How to Deal With Anger at God
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. Today’s Scripture is Exodus 11…it’s short and sharp.
In Exodus 11 Moses tells Pharoah that God will send the tenth plague that night at midnight. Every firstborn Egyptian male—including the livestock—will die. Further, God says, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” I’m not surprised that Moses got angry, and I suspect he wasn’t just mad at the Pharoah. I think Moses was angry at God, too.
1. Be honest about why you’re angry at God
In Exodus 11:8 we learn from the Message Bible that “Moses, seething with anger, left Pharaoh.” Another translation—the CSB—says “And he went out from Pharaoh’s presence fiercely angry.” The NIV says “Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.” There is no denying that Moses was mad…but at who? Sure, the easy answer is he was angry at the Pharoah for having a hard, stubborn heart. But Moses knew very well who hardened the king’s heart! God kept sending plagues and hardening the Pharoah’s heart so God could do many miraculous signs in Egypt. Great, God…but what about the death, grief, loss, suffering? So many hearts broken, so many men and cattle killed, so much earth destroyed…it’s sickening. Did every Egyptian deserve to suffer so much pain? I think Moses was angry at the Pharoah’s stubborn, cruel heart. I also think Moses was angry at God, too.
Why are you angry at God? Go beyond the obvious reasons, such as “I’m mad at God for my mom’s death” or “I’m angry at God because I’m still single.” Get in touch with the emotions, thoughts and experiences underneath the situation. For example, maybe you’re angry at God because you’re scared or brokenhearted. Maybe you’re angry at God because you feel lonely or unloved. For some reason God said no to the desires of your heart, and you’re disappointed or even devastated. Those are the real reasons you’re angry at God. Your helplessness, loss, and pain are the same ones Moses felt when Pharoah refused to let the Hebrews go. Your grief and sorrow are what Jesus felt when He saw His beloved friend Mary crying over her brother Lazarus’ death.
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2. Tell God why you’re filled with anger, grief, fear
Exodus 11 doesn’t say what Moses did or how he expressed his anger. We know he went to God because of the very next verse: The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” (v. 9). Did Moses talk to God about his anger? Maybe. Perhaps that’s why God said He hardened Pharoah’s heart: to make a strong, clear statement about His power and determination to free His people from slavery in Egypt. But even if Moses never dealt with his anger at God by talking to Him, we know Jesus did.
Talk to God about the feelings underlying your anger. Jesus didn’t just share His anger and grief with His followers, He took His feelings directly to God. In the Garden of Gethsemane and at the cross Jesus cried out to God from the deepest part of His heart, soul and spirit. He poured out His feelings in anguish, fear, hopelessness, despair, and grief. Jesus dealt with His anger by expressing how bad He really felt. He didn’t hold back, and neither should we. One of the healthiest ways to deal with anger at God is to share the feelings underneath the surface emotions.
3. Accept God for who He is, on His terms
In Exodus 11 we learn that the Pharoah and the Egyptians had until midnight to prepare for the death of their firstborn males (note that “firstborn males” may not just include babies). God also instructed Moses to tell the Hebrews to ask their neighbors for silver and gold items (verse 2). This was a sign to both the Egyptians and the Hebrews that they (the Hebrews) would be leaving Egypt. I don’t know how many people knew of the death and grief that would befall Egypt at midnight…but Moses knew. Pharoah and his officials knew. The Hebrews may also have known; Moses told them to prepare to be driven out of Egypt. God was in total control of Moses and the Hebrews’ fate back then, just like He was in total control of Jesus and His fate on the cross. Who was Moses, Pharoah, or even Jesus to question the Father’s will? What right did they have?
Become a humble child at the foot of the Lord God’s throne. What right do you have for being angry at God? Everything you have is a gift! Every breath you take is a gift, every person you love and every possession you have is a blessing. Who are you to stand in the Lord’s presence and say that you’re angry at Him? You are a mere mortal, a wisp of breath, a passing shadow, a child of God—dearly loved, and yet completely dependent on the Lord for everything. You did nothing to earn your existence or any of the relationships you have. And yet here you are, searching for tips on how to deal with anger at God!
Don’t you see how awesome, wondrous, powerful, unknowable and above us He is? If you had even one taste of His presence, you wouldn’t be angry at Him. You’d be on your knees in complete helplessness and awe, surrendering to who He is.
“The Lord said to him [Moses], “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” ~ Exodus 4:11.
In awe of God,
She Blossoms Through the Bible – Previous Articles
- 3 Ways to See Jesus in Your Relationships – Exodus 10
- How to Stop Trying to Control People – Exodus 9
- 3 Simple Ways to Love God When You Don’t Feel His Presence – Exodus 8