Summary: Being angry at God is a reality for some believers. Where does this anger come from? What are we supposed to do with it? This inductive sermon digs into those two questions using Naomi's life from Ruth 1-4.
BOOK OF RUTH:
“P***** Off At God”
INTRODUCTION… Maggie’s Story http://therebelution.com/blog/2013/08/im-angry-at-god/ #disqus _thread
As we begin this morning, listen to the words of Maggie:
“…I am so angry at where I have ended up and feel in such deep despair. I am a domestic abuse and rape victim who has had the table[s] turned on her. My abuser is being supported by the Church, the state and has my home and my children. I have been called a liar and worse in court. I now live a tiny damp apartment, have no money and I feel [like I have] no future. If I had the courage suicide would be a great option. I do not need [a] trite praise the Lord. I think God hates me. I am facing my 4th Christmas without my children, all because I had the courage to call the police. They let me down badly. I do still read my Bible but struggle to pray… I wish it all would end.”
Anger. Bitterness. Furious. Resentful. Sulky. Fuming. Irritated. Mad. Disappointed. Frustrated. Despondent. Unsatisfied.
These are the negative feelings that we will be talking about today and they are not light emotions or easy to talk about, but are intense and often hard to explain. Emotions are a normal part of being a human being and they can be in control or out of control or directed at ourselves or at others. Anger is a powerful emotion that can touch all areas of our lives. It is possible even to be angry with God.
As the background to our conversation this morning, we will be looking at the life of Naomi from the Book of Ruth. Naomi’s story is not one that begins full of hope and flowers and fluffy clouds, but is rather a story full of drought, death, and despair.
READ RUTH 1:1-5
“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. 3 Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”
We find in Naomi’s story that her life was not an easy one. First, the country in which she lived underwent a severe drought. No crops. No water. Hard living. Second, in the midst of this hardship, her husband uproots the family to another country in hopes that their lives would be better. This means a loss of family ties, familiar surroundings, and a close community she had grown up with. Third, after she had endured hardship and change she endures the loss of her husband and her two sons.
One root of our anger with God comes from bad and uncomfortable circumstances in our lives. Circumstances, such as death, often arouse our anger or frustration because we have questions of God that do not have answers… or we get answers that we do not like. Why did my baby die? Why did my son die? Why did my wife pass so painfully? There are other circumstances, not just death, which cause us to look upward and shake our fist angrily at God. Perhaps a company we have worked for fires us and we are left without a job and all our financial dreams are gone. We understand that it is the company that has done us wrong, but it feels like God should have blessed us better or taken better care of us. God why did this have to happen to me? Why didn’t you prevent them from laying me off? Why not someone else? Circumstances like a life threatening illness cause us to question God… after all… He is sovereign and in charge and should prevent us from getting catastrophic illnesses. Why did I have to get cancer? Why did I have to get painful arthritis?
ILLUSTRATION… Lori Kucharski Story http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/angry-at-god.html
Listen to Lori K’s Story:
Several years ago, two friends of mine from college died from cancer. Both in their twenties. Both were mothers. Both were beautiful, vibrant, genuinely kind women—they were strong Christians with a tough faith.
When I learned of their deaths, I felt the rush of memories of people I had not seen in some time, the sadness for their families, and the unfairness of it all. Their deaths affected me for a time, but life continued… Several years later, I met my husband. We had our first child in April 2012, and are expecting our second in January 2014. I had never felt a love so fierce, so protective, so pure until I gave birth to our son. I understood after that why people said parenthood teaches you about God’s love for us. I would hold him as he slept, and as I put him in his crib at night, I prayed confidently for angels to protect him... Then, about eight weeks after I delivered my son, in July, 2012, my husband and I were getting pizza for dinner, our son with us. My right arm began tingling and feeling numb at the same time. I thought I had pinched a nerve or that my arm had fallen asleep, and I kept shaking it, trying to get the feeling to come back. It had just thunder-stormed and there was a beautiful rainbow outside. I pointed it out to my husband, but I couldn’t think of the word, “rainbow.” My brain wanted to say, “refrigerator,” but I only knew this word in concept. I couldn’t come up with the actual noun… And then the realization that something was wrong hit me, and my husband and I headed to the emergency room… [The doctor] He painted a picture of me possibly having a major stroke in the near future and dying, leaving my husband alone to raise our motherless son… I’ve had dark nights, but this was the darkest… [Later] I held my son, realizing my faith was completely rocked. I remembered my two beautiful, amazing friends who became mothers and then were taken from their children. And I was ANGRY. My thoughts were not faith-filled. What kind of God allows children to be taken from their parents or parents from their children? How dare He allow my friends to have babies, only to let them die from cancer?... [What about me?]… How could He consider and call Himself a loving God when things like this happen?