I’m angry at God. It has taken me a while to realize it, but I am. Not just a little bit either, like how we get upset when the weather is bad and we had something planned on our day off. No, I’m talking about being really angry. Like the kind of anger that weighs down your soul and consumes your every waking thought and twists your emotions. That is the type of anger is what I’m talking about. Interestingly enough, I think God’s OK with me being mad at Him because it’s just where He wanted me.
To catch some of you up on why I’m angry and exactly what this year has held for our family so far, here are the high points. (Please understand that I’m baring my heart and not looking for one ounce of sympathy.)
- Early this summer my younger brother was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The emotional burden of watching my parents, who live next door to me, go through this is unbelievable.
- My father, already disabled by a stroke, is continuing to show signs of Alzheimer’s. He has been on medication to slow the Alzheimer’s down (which he doesn’t know. He thinks it’s just another vitamin). Fortunately, he is pleasant most of the time. At least to me he is, not always so pleasant to mom.
- My wife, who already struggles daily with severe fibromyalgia, has begun to experience new symptoms of what is clearly another autoimmune disease. Because having just one autoimmune disease isn’t enough, they seem to come in packages.
On top of those major three are other more personal issues. Put everything together and this year has been awful and most days I feel like I’m falling apart. The weight of sin, sickness, and simple everyday pressures of life make me want to run away. Somewhere in the midst of everything I became angry at God. Resentful of what He was asking me to walk through. It became too much to carry and I got mad at Him. After all, it is easier, I think, to carry a burden like my brothers conviction than it is to watch someone you care about have to carry it. There is nothing enjoyable about watching someone die piece by piece like my father is. To watch the man I knew fade away and revert back to the child he was 65 years ago. And there is nothing easy about having a loved one struggle every moment of every day with a debilitating disease, even when she steels her chin and pushes through the pain and fatigue. To then watch as her body attacks itself over and over again in new and vicious ways and there is nothing you can do except to watch it happen becomes mind numbingly frustrating.
As I talked with a dear friend, he took me to the book of Psalms. “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6 ESV) I haven’t been able to say that this year and I’m not sure that I can say it today or tomorrow. Because the truth is that I’m not happy about what God has given me. The “lines” that He has put in place for me are not pleasant, not for me or for my family. But in my anger and in my fight with God I’ve come to realize my problem isn’t in any of my situations. No, my problem is that I was trying to hold them. That I was trying to carry them. And so like Jacob wrestling against God in the mud of Jabbok, I’ve fought against God and I’m not sure I’m done, but He is winning. His winning is not coming in any relief from the burdens. No, He is winning by showing me that even in the situations He has given that He is still my portion and that is all I need. That I can be happy regardless of the test that God gives me because He is good in every trial. That if I would just take off the gloves that my hands would be free to embrace Him and that in surrendering to Him I will be able to see His faithfulness in my fight.