Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dealing with It

A friend of mine was going through a hard time dealing with a personal loss. “I’m so angry at God,” she said. “How could He let this happen?'”

I didn’t have any simple answers for her. I don’t have any special insight into why God chooses to intervene in the lives of people at certain times, and then chooses to refrain from interceding at other times. His ways are not my ways.

I did tell her was that it’s perfectly acceptable to be angry at God. Anger is a human emotion. We all experience it.

Do you ever remember getting mad at someone when you were a kid, and you said, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore,” or “I hate you.” You didn’t mean it, you were just so angry. It was the only way you knew how to express yourself.

Maybe you’ve had the privilege of having your own child yell or scream at you and tell you “You’re the worst mom (or dad) in the world! I hate you!”

Unless you were angry too, you probably took the words with a grain of salt. You knew he was angry, and you didn’t take it personally. You allowed him to direct his ranting at you, because you could take it. You were, in more ways than one, the bigger person.

I envision a particular scene, probably from a movie I’ve seen, of a child, hysterical with grief, beating on the barrel-like chest of her father, taking out her frustration and grief on him, because he’s there. He stands there and takes it, and when she breaks down crying, he kneels down, folds her into his arms and just holds her. He speaks soothing words to her, and eventually she finds solace in his presence.

Anger is a part of the grief process. I see God as that big, strong man who isn’t responsible for your grief, but is willing to let you take it out on Him anyway. He’s big enough and strong enough to take all the pounding, accusing, yelling and screaming that you need to release onto Him. When sadness overtakes you, He’ll be there to hold you and tell you how much He loves you.

There is no shame in anger. There is no right way to grieve. Only time can heal all wounds, and even then the scars may remain. He will listen. He has scars too.

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