That’s right! Welcome to a place where you’ll hear a lot about handling your doubts and fears and anger about suffering. And I’m sure that’s because I’ve had a lot of doubts and fears about God’s goodness over the years in this wheelchair of mine; I’ve felt fearful of the future as I’ve faced getting older in my chair; and I’ve struggled with anger when God has piled on more problems on top of my quadriplegia – like, how about chronic pain and cancer for starters? Like, hello God? What are you thinking here? Look, you can understand and you most likely are not in a wheelchair or maybe you don’t have cancer, but, man when your life circumstances become so twisted and jagged; when pain moves into stay… it can push you to the limit.
So may I please tell you today how I have worked through that fear and doubt; that “irritation” toward God for piling on more problems? I’d like to share what I did when I was tempted to blame God for my suffering. First, as soon as those doubts and fears started to encroach (and they always seemed to creep up on me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep)… when doubts started to choke out my confidence in God, I quickly turned it around and reaffirmed my belief in His sovereignty… I have to start talking to myself… I have to remember His power and wisdom and goodness toward me through Christ. And I have to do it quickly. Listen, I know how awful, how claustrophobic suicidal despair can be, and I did not want to go back down that dark, awful road one more time, so at the first hint of fear or doubt or anger I rehearsed in my mind everything I had ever learned about His sovereignty: God is good, He always has my best interests at heart; He is kind and merciful and He doesn’t take His hands off the wheel of my life for a nanosecond. He’s in control and He’s got reasons for allowing this.
Secondly, you’ve just got to reject the temptation to accuse God of plotting evil in your life. No, way; don’t go there. Although so many so-called Christian therapists will try to convince you that it’s okay to lay it all out and vent your anger against God full force. Some will even tell you that you need to forgive God… friend that is the wrongadvice. Never cast aspersions on His character; never talk behind His back; never sow seeds of discord about Him among others – not only does it dishonor the Lord, but it’ll definitely make things worse for you… much worse.
Third, I had to recognize my limited ability to understand God’s ways. Look, like you I have a finite and very fallen mind that is simply incapable of comprehending God’s dealings with man. I had to recognize I’m not responsible for figuring out God; only for knowing, trusting and pleasing Him. Someone wisely said, “Resist the demand to know God’s secret things and learn to rest in God’s revealed things.” That’s great advice! And you know, there’s much more counsel and wisdom I want to offer in an excellent little booklet called “Angry at God?” that I’d like to give you. Or maybe you could pass it on to someone you know who’s struggling with doubting God’s goodness. Whichever, this little book is a treasure and I encourage you to visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for your free copy. Finally, when tempted to be angry at God, you don’t need to settle for being a cold stoic or hot-headed blasphemer. God has opened the door for you to lament, to bring to Him your doubts and questions, wisely, honestly, and in humility. He bends His ear to His suffering people – and He’s waiting to hear from you today.
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