I do. All the time.
In fact, right now I’m quite mad at God. I really am.
No one I love has died, nor have i been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. If someone came to me for counseling and said their spouse had just passed away, I would tell them I understand their anger completely.
No, this is something much more basic and less tragic. Sometimes I’m just get fed up with how God is working. Or more specifically, how He’s NOT working.
Right now, our car keeps breaking down. We’ve poured hundreds of dollars into it, because we can’t afford a new one. Now we’re broken down again, and it looks like we’ve wasted all that money.
My schedule is filling up, leaving little time for family while bringing in few resources. People expect more and more from me, which leaves me drained and tired. At the same time, I feel I need to work harder to pay the bills. But when you’re a pastor, you can’t hand people a bill after you’ve spent an hour talking to them. In fact, you often spend much of your time helping people who never help you back.
Like those families you pour time and love into, only to watch them walk away when another larger church offers them something you can’t. Like people you help who never bother to park themselves in a church service and warm up a seat. And don’t get me started about people who never give to the church, but expect you to counsel them just as carefully as those who are faithful supporters.
So…you do just that. And you do it because it’s the right thing to do. Then you wait for the cavalry to arrive.
(Pregnant pause. Long sigh.)
News flash: life is hard. I’m sure you probably realized that before I mentioned it. But the longer I live, the more I feel it. And there are certain days when I feel it more than others:
…when the pressures of daily life start pressing in,
…when people’s unreasonable expectations leave me frustrated,
…when the uncertainties of finances or future prospects weigh me down,
…and when disappointments begin to overwhelm me.
That’s when I start wondering what’s the point.
I follow Him down a winding dark path which finally leads me to…another winding dark path. So when that obedience leads to a cul-de-sac I thought was actually “the road to my destiny”, I look up at the sky (because like a child, I somehow still think of Him up in the sky somewhere) and say, “Really?” with all the sarcasm I can muster.
That’s what I’m saying now…”really”.
The other thing that makes me angry about God is that right now, He’s just smiling at me. It’s the same reaction you have when a wimpy kid half your size threatens to blacken your eye. “Isn’t that cute?”, He’s saying. Normally, I would find His smile heart-warming. But at this moment, it only serves to fuel my anger.
He knows I realize my anger will do little or nothing to change my circumstance. He is determined to make me go through this little “test”. He isn’t going to let me see a way out. I will not know the big pay-off is coming until it comes. Up to that point, I keep marching a futile march around a Jericho wall showing no signs of falling.
Most of all, I’m so tired. So very, very tired…
…and now I’m back. From a nap. Also ate a couple of my wonderful wife’s chocolate-chip cookies, against my better judgment, trashing my low-carb diet. My day-long headache has somewhat subsided, a few of the cobwebs have cleared.
Nothing about my circumstance, however, has changed in the least. Yet somehow, it all seems better.
Yep, sometimes all you need is a short nap, a couple of vitamins in the shape of a cookie, and a new outlook.
On the seventh day the children of Israel marched wearily around that wall at Jericho, nothing had really changed either. But that was the day God had ordained the wall to come down. All they had to do was believe God’s promise, keep a trustful attitude, and keep marching.
Not sure why, but I think my situation is changing. I haven’t sounded a trumpet or anything, but after a little rest and a refreshed outlook, I think I see a change coming.
Does it bother you that my outlook changed so easily? Does it seem random to you? Well, you’d be surprised how quickly a bad day can turn into a not so bad day…or even an outright victorious day.
Sometimes all you need is rest and new perspective. Those bring clearer vision so you can finally see the cracks starting to form in the wall between you and your destiny.
And thankfully, He still hasn’t stopped smiling at me.