Summary: Why be angry at God when you can be angry with him instead?
Angry With God
February 28, 2010
Wildwind Community Church
I can’t take it anymore. Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps some of you, like me, are feeling that way now. This is the worst time of year for me. A lot of you know that, like many people, I suffer from what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. Anybody with me, raise your hand…
I wish it were just sadness. I can handle being sad. Sadness seems passive and quiet, and I definitely get that way. But do you know what else happens? I get angry. Extremely angry. I snap at my family for no reason. I say and do things I immediately regret. My nerves this time of year seem to rise right up to just under the surface of my skin. Everything irritates me. I feel like I’m a ticking time-bomb every year from January through whenever the snow melts and we start to see the sun again most days. And this year, like every year, there are those teasers – those two and three day periods where the sun shines all day or parts of those days, and my spirits are lifted and I begin to feel better. But more important, the clouds in my mind and heart begin to disappear and I feel like I can breathe again. If you don’t have this thing (it’s caused by levels of vitamin D dropping drastically in some people when the sun disappears), it’s very, very difficult to describe it. Anyway, we get those teasers, and as much as I love those days of sunshine, they make it harder to deal with the subsequent cloudiness and even snowstorms that are still to come. Every day I check the weather and, when I see that more clouds are in store, I get angry – then I am angry that I am angry about something so stupid. Then I get angry that my response to being angry is to get angry.
Unfortunately this is nothing new. I’ve struggled with this most of my life, but it seems to be getting worse as I get older. When I was a kid I loved the cold weather and living in Michigan, and the snow, but I’ve come to despise all of that because I now associate all of it with a lack of sunshine and with feeling absolutely terrible for half of the winter season. Obviously I’ve never had a period or experienced menopause, but it makes me wonder if maybe it’s something like that – you can tell you’re going off the rails, but again and again you keep saying and doing stupid things that you regret, until eventually you are forced into almost complete silence, for fear of what you might say or do next. And you’re walking around in this body that, when you look in the mirror, it looks like you – only it’s not. You know it, and your family knows it – and you don’t exactly know where you’ve gone. But you get to where you don’t remember what you used to be like. Like I say, I don’t know if it’s anything like what women sometimes experience, but if so – I’m really, really sorry.
Speaking of women, the story is told of a businessman whose wife was experiencing depression. She began to mope around and be sad, lifeless—no light in her eyes—no spring in her step—joyless. It became so bad that the man made an appointment for her with a psychiatrist. On the appointed day, they went to the psychiatrist's office, sat down with him and began to talk. It was not long before the wise doctor realized what the problem was.
Without saying a word, he stood, walked over in front of the woman's chair, signaled her to stand, took her by the hands, looked at her in the eyes for a long time, then put his arms around her and gave her a big, warm hug. You could see the change come over the woman. Her face softened, her eyes lit up, she immediately relaxed. Her whole face glowed. Stepping back, the doctor said to the husband, "See that's all she needs."
The husband thought for a moment, then said, "Okay, I'll bring her in Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, but I play golf on the other afternoons.”
BTW, the hug thing definitely wouldn’t work for me. Anybody who tries to hug me to make me feel better runs a pretty high risk of getting their head cut off.
Like I said, I’ve struggled with this every year for a long time. But there’s something different about it this year. It’s not better. It’s not easier. It doesn’t make the depression less depressing, or the anger less angry. That’s not really the difference. The difference is that this year, for the first time, I realize I’m angry with God.