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Here’s a question for you: Is it wrong to be angry with God?
Most of us who are afraid of lightning bolts frying our faces off or earthquakes rattling our brains and opening the earth to swallow us whole would probably say yes.
God is God and Creator and we are very much not God. That said, can we be honest? Sometimes God does stuff — or doesn’t do stuff — that ticks us off.
A friend once told me about a time when his life was crumbling and he stood outside in the thunder and lightning and rain, yelling his fool head off at the Almighty. As the lightning flashed all around him, my friend started taunting God. “Is that the best you’ve got?”
Is it wrong to be angry with God?
Right at this moment I’m not, but the subject caught my attention after listening to a podcast interview with Susan Isaacs, comedienne and author of “Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir.”
The book grew out of a comedy sketch she wrote in which she takes God to couples therapy. He shows up in a toga and they get into an argument. She says he’s gone too much; he says she doesn’t give him quality time. She accuses him of seeing other people.
Lest you think Isaacs is a God hater, she’s not.
When she wrote the sketch she had been seeing a therapist herself after suffering through a year from hell. In 2003 her dad died and her mom had a stroke. Her acting career in New York tanked so she moved to L.A. where it didn’t do much better.
Meanwhile, her four best friends in New York all got huge acting breaks and then all four of them got married that summer just as she and her almost-fiancé broke up. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, shortly after the break up she was in New York, a city of mega millions of people, in a park where she spotted her ex-boyfriend making out with some woman.
Just prior to that, she had asked God to give her a “sign of hope.” The friend she was with in the park told her, “See, there’s your sign! Your ex has moved on and so should you.
Isaacs replied, “No, that’s a sign that God had moved on from me. He hates me.”
She admitted that her heartbreak was “middle-class, white-girl tragedy,” but what else can you expect from a middle-class white girl?
However, she said, the biggest tragedy was God’s silence, his “moving on” from her. That’s when she decided to take God to couples counseling and unload all her anger on him. She told her own therapist, “Either God isn’t personal and I’ve wasted my time with him or he is personal and he hates me.”
The therapist gave her a third option: “Or, God loves you but crappy things still happen.”
Isaacs said for her to adopt that option it would mean letting go of God as a mean bad guy who hated her. She would have to stop blaming him for her misery.
I get that. It’s so much easier and enjoyable to blame others, especially God because he’s an easy target. Blaming him makes you feel all victim-y and you can get people to feel sorry for you and feed your self-pitifulness.
It took a while for Isaacs to grasp that God hadn’t moved on, that he hadn’t found someone new, that he didn’t hate her, despite her life falling apart.
She also discovered that God didn’t abandon her when she was most angry. On the contrary, he actually seemed to draw closer. She discovered that God already knows when we’re angry and he knows the hurt that’s behind it. He knows that it comes from confusion and disappointment and that it’s because we see life with blinders on, one small slice of history at a time, while he sees it all, from eternity past to eternity future.
He also knows that one day everything that goes wrong will one day be made right.
Being angry with God is part of the human experience. Thankfully, so is the mercy and grace God extends to his people even as we hurl our insults at him and drag him off to therapy.
We should all be fried on the spot, but we’re not.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via email at email@example.com.