Are you mad at God?

I was thinking about my regrets this morning. I think back on my relationship with my mother for example, and I regret that I didn’t communicate better with her. I had a lot of anger towards her while she was alive and we never resolved any of those issues. Now it’s too late. It’s only after her death that I began to give her more grace and forgive her for her humanity. I have several children, some of whom I have a good relationship with and others I don’t. You know what the number one reason for the difference is? Communication. One of my daughters will tell me when she’s mad at me. It’s never comfortable of course. But, the most important thing is that we hash it out, we talk it over, we work through it and we resolve it. This is never an easy process because it requires humility, repentance, courage to talk about your feelings and hurts and finally, forgiveness. 

I think one of the most painful things that we can do to people we love, or have done to us for that matter, is something commonly called the silent treatment. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes we may not be silent towards another, but we have this inner anger and resentment that we refuse to acknowledge or talk about. Instead of communicating and allowing both parties to share their feelings and thoughts, we pretend that everything is ok. 

All of this makes me think of something the Lord tells Isaiah in chapter 1 verse 18: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD”. Whenever I read this, I always think about the term “conflict resolution”. God not only tells Israel to talk to Him, but He then offers them hope:

though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool”.

What is God really saying to Israel, and to us, when He tells us to come and reason with Him? It is my understanding and belief and might I add, personal experience, that He is telling us to come and tell Him what’s on our heart, and our mind, and to tell Him about our anger, our offense with Him, and perhaps even our resentment. You see, He already knows how I feel. If I’m angry with Him, I might be able to fool myself, or even others, but I cannot fool Him. He knows. 

I remember many years ago, I was going through a very painful and difficult time in my life. I was angry at the way God was handling the situation. Or perhaps I should rephrase that. I was angry at the way He wasn’t handling or fixing the situation. I was mad. But I refused to talk to Him about it. I had this weird idea in my head, that somehow, telling God I was mad, was wrong, sinful and offensive to Him! I remember a friend had told me that God was big enough to handle my anger. Was He? It seems like a strange question now, but at the time, it was where I was at spiritually and emotionally. I will confess that I did not handle the conversation well when I finally “confronted” Him. I yelled at Him. I’m ashamed to admit, I might have cussed at Him. I stood there in horror at what I had just done, afraid He might wipe me off the earth. His response shocked me. I heard Him say, as clear as a bell, “well, I’m glad we got that out of the way. I knew all that was there, but you didn’t”! Say what? He wasn’t angry at me. No. As a matter of fact, we talked about it, and then He offered me that hope and forgiveness that Isaiah mentions. I repented for my anger and in return I received His unfailing love and mercy. 

I look back now at those terrible years and I can see the wisdom in what He allowed to go on in my life. I learned to trust Him in those difficult times. I learned that He is safe. I learned that He loves me unconditionally. You see, unconditional love is not unconditional, unless the person really knows you, warts and all. If all they see is your best side, it’s not unconditional love. My God, my Jesus, knows me, inside and out and He loves me anyway. He knows you as well, inside and out. And the good news is that He loves you unconditionally as well. 

Let me just say one more thing. We are living in difficult, frightening times. If you are angry at God, if you feel offended with Him, go reason with Him. Tell Him how you feel. I think, if I know Him correctly, He will help you to work through it and to find His peace. 

The benefit of hearing God’s voice.

The Lord told me something recently, that I wasn’t sure what to make of at first. He told me that I have a lot of audacity. He told me that I have the audacity to believe that I can hear His voice every single day. I looked up the word audacity. It means boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought or other restrictions. Mmm. According to Him, I come to Him each and every morning with the audacity to believe that He wants to talk to me. He then asked me a rhetorical question. Where do I get this audacity from? Who told me that He wants to talk to me? I was a little nervous  at this point but I pressed on. His response? He did. All throughout Scripture it tells us that the Lord wants to talk to us. Jesus put it very succinctly in John 10:27, “My sheep here my voice”. And this desire of His, this desire for relationship, actually started in the garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this happens: “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8

Where are you indeed? Now you have to remember, this was after the fall. Even after they had sinned, He still wanted to talk to them and have a relationship with them. To this day, He still wants to have a relationship with you and with me and that requires conversation. It’s hard to have a relationship with someone, if there is no talking. It’s also been my experience that monologues do not make for good relationships. 

What comes to your mind as you read this? Do you feel convicted to spend more time praying? Do you feel sad because you’ve tried and don’t hear Him? It has not always been easy for me; even to this day I have to persevere to hear Him. Some days are easier than others. I have to have tenacity, determination and single mindedness, if you will. Remember, the first thing that Jesus told His disciples when they asked what would be the signs of the end was “See that no one leads you astray”. Knowing His voice has always been important, but it is becoming even more important in these last days because there are more and more voices out there, voices of strangers, desiring to lead us astray. 

We are told by Matthew in chapter 1:22 that the prophet Isaiah prophesied that “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”. God with us! I know that I’m not telling you anything new here. When Jesus was raptured and went back to the Father, (Acts 1:9) He sent us the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, if we are His. God with us! Why would He not talk to us if He dwells in us?

Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to talk to you. If you start with that understanding, He will help you to hear Him.

With that being said, let me share some ideas with you that you might want to consider, to help you hear Him, because there are definitely times He doesn’t answer, even if we speak to Him and wait. I am in no way suggesting that we have to be perfect to hear Him. These are just a couple of ideas that I have found to be true in my own life that I want to share with you. 

Isaiah 29:13 tells us that sometimes His people draw near to Him with their mouth, but their hearts are far from Him. Before we can have the audacity to think He will speak to us, we must cleanse our hearts through repentance. This is not a one time event, or a little prayer we said many years ago. I ask Him to show me my sin on a regular basis and He is always faithful to convict me when I do sin. However, our hearts must be soft and willing to listen. The author of Hebrews tells us “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

Jesus told us in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Are there lies in your heart? Are you keeping things from Him, things He has convicted you about? Micah 3:4 tells us: Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil”.

How about idolatry? We might not have carved images made of wood or metal these days (or do we?) but are there things which you trust or serve more than Him? Are there things which you fear more than Him? Are there things that you feel secure with, more than you feel with Him? Those are idols. If you come to Him, and there is an idol in your heart which you trust in, which you fear, then it will come between You and Him. That idol will stand between you and Him, and you are in fact talking to it, not Him. He will not answer you. Isaiah 57:11-13 gives us a response that the Lord gave to Israel during a time of great idolatry in the land: “And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?

I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you. When you cry out,

let your collection of idols deliver you.”

God answers us when we call out to Him, not when we are talking to another. It doesn’t matter what we call that idol, even if we call it Jesus, we are talking to it, not the King of kings and Lord of lords. So search your heart, and see if there are idols that you trust or fear more than Him.

The good news is that no matter what the sin is in our lives, we can receive forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus. He will cleans us from our sins, if we but ask Him to. What the Lord is looking for is our faith in Him. He wants us to fear Him, to trust Him, to follow Him, to find our peace in Him, not in something or someone who cannot save us. That requires us to have a relationship with Him and to know His voice, so we will not follow the voice of a stranger (John 10:5)!