Lately I’ve felt mad at God. And in feeling guilty about it, I figured I should forgive…because I’m usually of the mindset that if I am mad at someone then I should forgive them. Easier said than done sometimes, I know. But I know it makes me feel better.
But then I thought… What the heck. I can’t forgive God! God has never done anything wrong! Oh wow…I cannot believe I actually just considered forgiving God.
And then I felt incredibly embarrassed before the Lord.
I hope you didn’t hear that, God.
But, I know He did. Thankfully, God is gracious and He won’t hold it against me. And though, at the time, I still wasn’t able to get over being mad at the Lord, today He’s been showing me why. And I hope this helps somebody who may also be wrestling with this not-so-unique problem of feeling mad at God.
I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know that if you’re a living, breathing human being, there are times when you wonder why God would allow pain in your life.
There will be times you’re tempted to be mad at God.
Times you assume He’s out to get you.
Times you’re confused.
Times you feel hurt.
I want you to know that you don’t have to be mad at God.
He is NOT the one causing you pain.
Let me repeat…God is NOT the one causing you pain.
God is the One coming to rescue you into eternity, safety, beauty, love and glory.
But in the midst of real life, I keep wondering over and over why God would allow pain. And I get mad. I get in a mindset where I believe that because God is sovereign and He allows everything to come to pass in our lives, that my pain passes through His hands because He doesn’t care to stop it. As if the bad things happening to any one of us are travelling through a security checkpoint, then making it through and travelling on to meet its destination: you and I. Why would God let pain pass through the security checkpoint? Why would He allow it? Why won’t He stop it?
We can ask these questions all day long.
But it’s not going to get us anywhere.
God is not the one causing us pain.
Satan is. Evil is. Sin is.
If we want answers to why pain and suffering exist, we need to look at what God is doing with Genesis 3 and Revelation 20-22.
In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are dwelling in a beautiful garden hand-crafted by God for their enjoyment. Lush greenery, velvet grass, sweet-smelling flowers, luscious fruits. But Satan comes along and tells them about a tree: a tree that will make them like God, knowing good and evil. Adam and Eve know God told them not to eat from that tree. But they disobey God and eat the fruit. This act generated the entry of the knowledge/awareness of good and evil into the world.
The point of Genesis 3 is not that Adam and Eve disobeyed. Nor that they should be punished and thus God lets pain and suffering exist. No. That’s not the point. The point I’m trying to illuminate is all about Satan.
Satan is the one who initiated the idea for Adam and Eve to disobey.
This is incredibly significant, as we see the relationship between God and Satan throughout the Bible, or the tension between good and evil, play out.
If you look at everything as a power struggle between God and Satan (even though we know God always wins), you can take the pressure off of Adam, Eve and the whole human race as the ones to blame.
You are not to blame, beloved.
God has a purpose.
That doesn’t mean we are off the hook…but then again, we ARE off the hook!!!
Because God – the One who gets to make all the executive decisions in the universe – decided that you and I were off the hook for what happened in the garden. He sent Jesus to pay for all that (John 3:16). That’s pretty freaking good news if you ask me!
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more,” says Isaiah 43:25.
God let Satan tempt them.
God let Genesis 3 happen.
He needed it to happen.
This is an instance where I would be mad at God for letting something bad happen.
Why did you let the serpent tempt us God? I’d be thinking if I were Eve.
But God had a reason.
And it’s bigger than their one sin to eat the fruit.
It’s about something much bigger.
God is doing something in this whole power-struggle between good and evil, Him and Satan, where God’s end goal is to destroy evil and destroy Satan for good. And He just had to do it this way with us involved in the story. He needs to filter us through this world of good and evil too. God also lets this be a means by which humans choose if they will believe in God and follow Him or not.
Then in Revelation 20-22, God will complete the work He started in Genesis 3.
He will deal with the problem of evil.
God is going to destroy evil and Satan, and create the New Heaven and New Earth where no more pain and no more suffering will exist ever again:
“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever… Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” –Revelation 20:10 & 14
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea…
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” –Revelation 21:1 & 4-6
But there is a gap of time between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20-22.
Satan gets to have some power during this time.
Before He is destroyed.
Thus, bad things happen.
Nobody is exempt.
Not even Christians.
In fact, Christians usually experience more bad things because Satan likes to attack the ones who believe in God, the One he hates. We shouldn’t be surprised. Yet it seems that I am always surprised when bad things happen to me. So I need to remind myself of this just as much as anybody.
When I remember this…the reality of Genesis 3 and Revelation 20-22, I am comforted in the midst of bad things happening to me and all around me.
But is this my default?
I wish I could say immediately in the middle of a bad thing, thank you Lord that despite the brokenness allowed by Genesis 3, I can have hope in the promise of Revelation 20-22 and then go on my merry way.
But that is not my default.
My default in the middle of a “bad thing” is to get angry at God for letting it happen to me.
Out of human emotional impulse, I lack recollection of the reality of the Genesis 3/Revelation 20-22 plan of God.
I forget that bad things are inevitable and I must wait for God to wipe out everything that causes us pain here in the world.
→ What catalyzed all of this thought today is THIS troublesome realization:
When I think about God, I imagine Him in 2 different ways depending on how I feel: loved or unloved.
THIS IS WHY I struggle so much to trust God sometimes.
There’s 1) the God I imagine in Heaven and with in Heaven, who I know loves me and I feel loved by, and then there’s 2) the God I don’t understand, seems unrelatable, who I fear wants to hurt me and doesn’t love me.
This is contradictory.
Because God is the same always (Hebrews 13:8).
So He can’t be both.
Most of the time, the first description is who I imagine God as.
But when I am fearful and mad at God, it’s always the second description that I imagine God as.
I realized today, I’ve been imagining and talking to 2 versions of God…
2 very different versions of God who cannot coexist…
This is how God showed me this today…
Today I was really angry and confused. More than I think I’ve ever been. And I just felt like God was deceiving me and tricking me. Confusing me and using me for His benefit and my pain. I was talking to God as if He was out to get me. As if I didn’t trust Him. Then all the sudden… I stopped. I started to imagine me being with Him for real in heaven. And I stopped being mad. I just wanted to be with Him in Heaven. And I started imagining me and God together. As I did, I started talking to Him differently. When I imagine me talking to God as if I were in heaven right there with Him, there is no doubt in my mind that God loves me. I feel it. It’s real to me. More real than any other love I feel from anyone. It’s in that moment that I know for sure God loves me way too much to hurt me. The God I am with in Heaven could never ever hurt me or make me angry. It’s not possible. Then all the anger I was feeling several minutes prior started to fade away. I realized my reasons for my anger were not God’s fault at all.
Then I thought…that’s it! That’s my problem! This is why I’m struggling to trust God right now. I see Him in 2 completely different ways! It’s as if He exists as 2 different Gods in my mind. And that is not possible!
There’s the God who loves me.
But then there’s the God who wants me to suffer.
There’s the God I’m with in Heaven.
But then there’s the God roaming throughout the earth causing me pain.
There’s the God who desires me.
But then there’s the God who’s annoyed with me.
There’s the God who wants to do good things for me.
But then there’s the God who hurts me.
The God I love.
But then the God I’m angry with.
The God I trust to help me.
But then the God I don’t trust with anything.
2 different Gods.
Both fighting to be the same in my mind.
This is scary.
I’m getting goosebumps.
The “But then…” God is not God.
It’s a lie.
“And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” declares the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Wow, no wonder I’ve been seeing God in 2 different ways.
All along, the devil is the one who’s been acting as a fake version of God in my mind, trying to make me be mad at the God I love! He’s been making me think God didn’t love me! What a schemer he is! But he will not win. No sir. The devil has been found out and he has no more authority in my mind nor yours!
Satan will attack you and try to make you be mad at God.
Don’t let him.
Satan will deceive you and try to make you think God is orchestrating your suffering.
Don’t believe it.
Satan will whisper tantalizing lies to you that you should forget God’s way.
Don’t fall for it.
Satan is a liar!
Jesus said so in John 8:44 when he was talking of those who would not believe in God:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (emphasis mine).
And Satan’s power will NOT LAST forever! Revelation 20 is coming. And by chapter 22, we will all be with God forever free from Satan and his lies.
Choose to believe that God is not responsible for your pain. The devil is. Evil is. Sin is.
But this is not an excuse to be vengeful!
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord,” in Romans 12:19.
Let God take care of the devil, evil and sin.
Revelation 20-22 is coming.
Therefore, we have no reason to be mad at God.
We must also take responsibility for our own flesh.
Not everything bad that happens is Satan’s fault.
Some of it is our fault too.
Sometimes, I get mad or distrusting of God just because I am a sinful human being. May we rely heavily on the Spirit to cleanse ourselves of sin that inhibits us from seeing God clearly and experiencing intimacy with Him.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6
God is more than willing to help us along the way.
His grace is overflowing.
Romans 8:31-32 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
God is for us.
Not against us.
God is not double-minded.
Before, I was seeing God as 2 different Gods…now I see that evil was tricking me.
I could choose to believe that God is the one who’s given me pain, but that won’t get me anywhere but further from Him. That’s what the devil wants. For us to distance ourselves from God and be bitter.
God won’t hurt you.
God won’t confuse you
God won’t be mean to you.
But Satan will. Evil will. Sin will.
Don’t be mad at God.
Don’t be mad at anyone else.
Rest in the truth that God loves you.
Love never hurts you. Never.
Let God know how thankful you are that He is your God, your love, your safe place.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:11-13.
I pray that you would believe God is good in every possible way. So all those negative thoughts circulating in your mind…may God cast them out in Jesus’ name!
We will be safe and loved with the Lord for all eternity. And this love is here now. There’s no differentiation between God’s love for us now and His future love for us. It’s constant and strong always. May we believe that God never wishes harm on anyone. But luckily, He knows how to make something really beautiful even from the most horrible circumstances. Genesis 3 will turn into Revelation 22. Hallelujah!
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Questions for Today:
- What is the hope of Revelation 20-22 in light of Genesis 3?
- Am I angry at God? If so, why?
- Do I recognize the devil’s schemes in wanting me to be angry at God?
- Why should I believe that God does not want to harm me?
- How does the way I see God impact my attitude towards Him?
- Why is it important to rely on the Holy Spirit and not the flesh?
“It Is Well” by Tommy Walker feat. Kesha Shantrell, Leon McCrary, Sean Beck & CBC Choir