“Listen, God! Please, pay attention!
Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries?
King-God, I need your help.
Every morning you’ll hear me at it again.
Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.”
Psalm 5:1-3 The Message
Life is bittersweet. We each will encounter huge hurts, losses and disappointments that leave us reeling and sometimes furious with God. How do you make your way back to God when you don’t feel like speaking to Him?
Are you so mad about something, so grieved, so hurt and disappointed that you can think of nothing else but to blame God and ask Him why it has happened? Maybe even worse than feeling all this yourself, you feel helpless as you watch someone you love shut God out of their life in anger.
On a dark January night twenty years ago, I made a drive to a hospital emergency room. That drive seemed to last forever. I knew to try and prepare my heart, as I’d heard the gravity of the situation in my brother’s friend’s voice who had called me. I will never forget driving through a beautiful stretch of road, lined with a forest of trees on either side, just like a tunnel. As I was driving, I wondered to myself if I would ever be able to drive this route again without thinking of this horrible night. The answer to that would be: no. I was about to see my only sibling, my younger brother who had just turned twenty-one, lying on a gurney clinging to life in a coma that would last six more months. A profound brain injury changed my brilliant, handsome, good humored brother’s life forever. That January night was the worst possible sort of family milestone. There will always be a before and after for each member of my family. The heartbreaking wreckage of that night and its effect on the hearts of my parents is especially hard to witness. My brother went from an independent life taking the bull by the horns to a life of doctors, therapies and dependency on others.
Horrible and ugly events leave us (rightfully) shattered.
So how do you get from a place of deep hurt and anger, back to God?
First, allow yourself to have these feelings. Acknowledging feelings doesn’t mean you always act upon your feelings. However, in this case it does mean admitting that you are angry at God. Own up to blaming Him if that is what you feel. Don’t stuff your feelings back down where they came from, denying they exist. It’s okay. Don’t condemn yourself for being angry, hurt and disappointed and for lashing out at God, because He does not condemn you for these feelings.
“For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 22:24
Second, whether or not you’re ready to talk to God, find someone safe to talk to. People tend to want to fix things, but you need only to find an open heart who will just be there. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need: someone who will listen; someone who won’t shy away from the raw and the real; and someone who can deal with not having all the answers.
“And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet,
I’m laying it all out on the table;
my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest.” Job 7:11
Third, be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. Dish yourself up a huge, yummy serving of grace. Get lots of sleep. Be present in this moment. Spend some time doing things you enjoy. Take some long walks. It’s okay to be kind of selfish during times likes these. Don’t worry about what other people are going to think of how you are processing tragedies, hurts or disappointments in your life. This is not their journey back to God- it’s yours.
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers as the spring rains that water the earth. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:1, 3,6
Fourth, take your time. Don’t feel like you have to rush and pull yourself back together. Rest in the knowledge that if you are mad at God, that means you care enough to have a real relationship with Him. Take each day one day at a time. Take it hour by hour if you need to. God can take it. He can take all of your hurt. He is longing for you, ready to wrap His arms around you in love.
In my mind’s eye I see God as the Father in the parable of the prodigal son- standing outside on top of a hill, straining his eyes along the landscape below waiting to see a glimpse of his son. Once the Father spots the son on the road below, the Father takes off running at breakneck speed towards him. When you are far away and angry, God is close by and always waiting for you to return.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
Lastly, even if you are still dreadfully hurt, give this all to God. Let yourself return to God. This doesn’t mean you’re still not angry, not still deeply disappointed. You do not have to be “all better” to start talking to God again. In turning away from God during these times, we attempt to block out the only one who can heal us.
Christ enters into suffering with us. The gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit is matchless in power. He is able to comfort us with His presence and miraculous peace. You cannot will yourself to be healed of these kinds of hurts. Another human cannot fix this sort of deep pain, only God can heal these deepest of wounds inside of you. If you don’t know the words to pray, just cry to Him. He knows- and He love you. This is a God-sized job that takes a miracle to fix. Thanks be to God that miracles are His business.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-24
When we are in despair, you answer us with The Hope, the anchor for our soul: Christ Jesus. You are matchless in power. When our world around us seems to crumble, You remind us You are King of an unshakable Kingdom. We praise you, Lord, when our world seems dark and the darkness flees. We cry to you when we have no words, when we are angry, when we lose heart…and You answer us with love, with compassion, with Your peace and hide us in the shadow of Your wings. Help us take captive every thought and bring them into obedience to Christ. Fill our hearts and minds with the truth of Your nearness to us always. Thank you for this bittersweet life, restore us to the joy of our salvation.
Feeling touched by this post written by Kristen Love? Share your thoughts in a comment below!