Shouting at God

Life can have its dark times.

There is a school of thought that thinks God needs to be treated politely, that we should only say nice things to him.

But how is that honest?  And what kind of relationship would that be?  A real relationship needs honesty and a willingness to say what is really in your mind, not to pussyfoot around issues.

We saw last week how Job came to be tested, and that he had done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve the things that were happening to him.  We also heard Job being very philosophical and acknowledging that if one accepted the good, then one also accepted the bad. But now, twenty-three chapters on, he is getting a bit fed up, and lets rip:

Job 23:1-9, 16-17

Job’s Reply to Eliphaz

Today I Complain Bitterly

23 Job said:

Today I complain bitterly,
because God has been cruel
and made me suffer.
If I knew where to find God,
I would go there
    and argue my case.
Then I would discover
what he wanted to say.
Would he overwhelm me
with his greatness?
No! He would listen
    because I am innocent,
and he would say,
“I now set you free!”

I cannot find God anywhere—
in front or back of me,
    to my left or my right.
God is always at work,
though I never see him.

16     makes me tremble with fear.
17 God has covered me
with darkness,
but I refuse to be silent.

There is nothing wrong in shouting at God.  The Psalmists do it all the time.

“Why”.

That cry can be part of facing up to the situation.  In the Model of Grief, anger and bargaining come before acceptance, and so are very much a part of it.

Do we think God is offended by our shouting?  I don’t think so.  God is happy to accept and hear our emotions.  He’s big enough to take it.  God invites us to cry out to him from the depths of our beings, to be honest with him, to say what we feel – only then can he respond to that.  If we are happy with how things are, then fine, but if we are struggling with how our life and circumstances are then we should tell him – and hear what he has to say.

Lord,

I come to you,

with the honesty of how I’m feeling.

I cannot hide from you,

you know how things are,

and you invite me to come as I am;

so I come,

shouting or singing,

crying or laughing

– for you accept me,

hear me,

and hold me tight

in your care

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