Not Afraid to Be Angry With God
I may be come-lately in the stages of grief
(it has been exactly two years since our 41-year-old son Jeremy died of
lymphoma), but I’ve been having some frank and angry sessions with God.
I’m not the sort who thinks that because we’ve served the Lord all of
our married lives (for five decades—and come to think of it, with most
of our possessions as well), no bad things will happen. I’ve learned
that terrible things have happened, do happen and will happen again.
One morning, I woke up with these words
addressed to God: You hurt me.
wasn’t an accusation; it was an objective statement of fact and sort of
in the vein of the child
who has been roughly disciplined by a parent
because he darted into oncoming traffic in the street.
Nevertheless, and rare for me,
tears rolled down my cheeks.
is my anger toward God a diatribe; it is more of the kind that comes
from fatigue. More the “I’m tired of being Your press agent. If You’re
not going to do what You’ve promised, then how in the world do You
expect me to ‘proclaim your good works among the children of men’?!”
My anger is more in this kind of vein. I’m also tired of having people
say things like: “Wow! You guys are getting to be like Job!”
the interesting thing about our anger with God is that it clears the
air; this kind of honesty often allows God to do the work in our lives
He wants to do. A friend brought me a book by Richard Rohr titled Job and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual Reflections. Of course, being in my angry-with-God disposition, some of the author’s commentary jumped out from the pages:
yells at God, accuses God of all kinds of things, speaks sarcastically,
almost makes fun of God. ‘If this is a game you are playing, then
you’re not much of a God!
I don’t need you and I don’t want you’—it’s that kind of prayer that creates saints.”
saints? I was stunned. Rohr goes on to explain: “You can’t pray that
way, with that authority, unless you know something, unless you are
assured at a deep level of a profound relatedness between the two of
you, unless you know you can venture into that arena where we say
angels fear to tread.”
month, I wrote a donor letter about my 2002 Mazda dying after it had
been “fixed” at the local auto shop owned by Vince. As I was racing to
catch a plane at O’Hare, the car died in traffic on the highway. The
car was towed to the nearest Mazda dealer, and the battery was
replaced. It then stalled out again in the parking lot of the grocery
store, and our friends, the local car-repair guys, hauled it to the
shop and replaced the alternator. That very week, while running errands
one morning in our little town of West Chicago, it died once again—the
motor did not idle, nor would the ignition turn over.
But it stalled at the intersection
directly beside Vince’s car-repair shop.
I knew immediately that God was saying to me,
“I know you’re angry at me. I get it.
Let me dramatically make this point: I love you.
I am caring for you. I am watching over you.
I am NOT removed from your difficulties.
Pay careful attention to the place where you stalled out.
This is not circumstantial; this is providential.”
over some 40 years, I have recorded my God Hunt sightings. I have kept
a record of God’s loving intervention in my everyday life. I know that
after losing a ministry, pouring a Father’s inheritance into paying
down debt, being the object of people’s slander, losing a son to
lymphoma, tearing a rotator cuff, having a thyroid removed because of
cancer, watching my children suffer—I know, I know
deep in my intellect and experience deeper in my soul that this God
loves me, cares about me, understands me. I am not afraid to be honest
with my anger. Going on the God Hunt daily for over 40 years has given
me practical evidence that God is active, cares and is working on my
behalf—despite life’s terrors.
How else to explain the 2002 Mazda dying, for the fourth time, TWENTY FEET from our local car-repair shop?
(The alternator, which was under warranty, was flawed.)
me repeat: I have spent the last 40 years of my life recording the
daily interventions of God in my everyday life. Sorrow cannot deceive
me; weariness cannot assail me; disappointment can’t defeat me. I have
developed the habit of sightedness—I see God’s work here, there and all
around. This substantial practice of looking for God daily, then
writing down my sightings as a permanent lifetime record has empowered
me to see His hand where others cannot.
We are in the
process of reducing our possessions, moving our offices to the basement
of our house, and beginning to transition to our son and
daughter-in-law’s converted barn home on 18 acres in northern Illinois.
Moving the Mainstay Ministries office will save us about $9000 a year.
However, we have 20 boxes of hardcover Going on a God Hunt
books in our garage. We would much rather put them in the hands of your
kids, people in your Sunday School class, folk at work who would be
blessed by them, even your kids’ teachers, than move the boxes
unopened, contents unread. The spiritual practice of seeking and
finding God in the everyday will ensure against folk being overwhelmed
when bad things happen.
of the things I’m mad about is that I don’t have
the money I need for
what is in my heart to do.
I have to pray everything in, fast and pray
and pray again, ask friends, put it on my request
I feel like I’ve spent a ministry lifetime begging!
have the desire and the capability, but not the financial means. If you
are planning a book study with your small group, if you want to go on a
spiritual adventure with your immediate family, if you would like to
expand your vision of God with some companions hungry for spiritual
growth, would you consider purchasing quantities of The God Hunt as a means to helping me and to helping them? Details are included in the Book Corner.
the end of Job’s trial, he says, “God looks at me and understands.”
This is an extraordinary statement after the previous chapters of anger
and grief and distress. Everything comes together when we know, really
know that God is looking at us, and despite our raw and ragged
humanity, He understands. In truth, not too far down in my soul, at
some bedrock level, I feel the same way. There’s hope for this one
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Check out additional information with a few clicks, register
online, and pay the retreat fees as well. We’ve tried to make this as
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The Soulish Food e-mails are
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want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.
"Going on the God Hunt
daily for over 40 years has given me practical evidence that God is
active, cares and is working on my behalf—despite life’s terrors."
Help Us Clean Out Our Garage As We Get Ready to Move!!
a stalled car, with a dead motor, immoveable and intractable, can be a
sign of God’s tender care and love, then think how many divine and
caring incidents are missed each day when we don’t pay attention. This
month, for any gift of any amount, we will send one autographed
hardback copy of The God Hunt as our way of saying thank you. If
you are interested, please email me at Karen@hungrysouls.org or phone
me at 630-293-4500. There are various ways you can help. A few ideas:
* Send a year-end gift as a way of providing funds for my frustrated plans!
* Send a gift in the amount of your choosing and receive a hardcover copy of The God Hunt in return.
* Buy quantities of The God Hunt at $5 a book.
* Buy a whole box of books (32 quantity) for $150.
If you would like to send a gift or make a purchase, you can call the number above (we can take credit cards), or mail a check made payable to Hungry Souls to Box 30, Wheaton, IL, 60187.
Back-cover copy from The God Hunt:
Finding God incognito in the world...
is delight. It is joy. It is wonder.
It is a childlike, wiggling anticipation that somewhere, any moment, just around the next corner, when you least expect it,
the Divine is going to jump out,
... and you are going to respond,
Karen Mains on the God Hunt—a playful and profound way to seek and find
those seemingly ordinary moments when God intervenes in your life with
guidance, care and help.
You'll find such moments happen
more than you think! And you'll be drawn into deeper communion with God
as you tune in to the many ways He answers prayer, shows evidence of
His love, helps you do His work in the world and "works all things
together for good."