“God has big shoulders. He can handle your anger.”
Several times, people have used that rationale to encourage my feelings of anger towards the Lord. I don’t know if this concept comes from so-called Christian psychology (it seems altogether likely), but I absolutely believe we must reject it.
Of course I empathize when people experience such anger. During John’s cancer, I even confessed to friends that I had feelings of hatred towards the Lord. As I think back on the time that I lacerated my throat by yelling at Him, I have compassion for others who go through similar outrage. I know the pain of hearing about His sovereignty and therefore feeling helpless to influence His will. So as you read this article, please don’t mistake me as being callous to your frustrations.
Having said that I empathize with anger towards God, I must say as gently as I can that such anger is sinful. God indeed has big enough shoulders to handle our anger, but He calls us to bow to His will rather than demanding that He acquiesce to ours. Our anger betrays an attitude of pride as we insist that His will is inferior to ours. And pride, no matter how understandable, is a slap in His face.
You might object to my comment that anger towards God comes from pride. You might remind me that, if John had died seven years ago, I’d probably be in a nursing home right now. How can I condemn my anger as sinful pride when I had so much to lose?
I’ll answer that justifying anger towards God necessarily assumes some premises that run counter to His Word. Firstly, it assumes that He owes us comfort and happiness. It forgets that He purchased us, and consequently we belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We reverse the roles, seeing ourselves as lords over Him. When He “rebels” against our desires, we react angrily. How dare He violate our wills!
Additionally, anger towards God assumes that He doesn’t fully appreciate our situations. We forget Romans 8:28, which says He works all things for our good according to His purposes. And our good means our eternal holiness, not necessarily our temporal comfort. Maybe suffering will cause us to repent of some sin that holds us back from spiritual maturity. He knows the pain of our circumstances but He also knows what will form godly character in us.
Finally, anger towards God assumes that He must answer to us. Job developed that attitude, and ended up having to repent of his proud demand that God explain His actions (read the whole book of Job). What makes us think that we have any right to hold God accountable to us?
If these assumptions don’t denote pride, please tell me why they don’t.
Yes, I understand why Christians get angry with God. But I hope I’ve helped you understand that His big shoulders don’t give us permission to proudly rage against Him.