Angry at God for the tragedies of the world

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BY Chuck McCullough


“Are we allowed to get angry at God for allowing tragedy to happen?” — David 


Is God the source of tragedy? We don’t want to think so. We perceive of Him as ultimate love and thus the very one who protects us from tragedy. 

Our anger arises when we are certain that a sovereign God could have stopped a terrible event and when we are also pretty sure there can be no good purpose for it.

But there is the rub: we cannot see the whole picture. As the ancient prophet said, God’s thoughts are above ours, His ways are beyond our ways (Isa. 55:8-9).

Knowing our limitations and sensing His higher purposes, we must take a step back at some point and consider what He wants us to take from tragedy. Job and his friends spent a lot of energy trying to discern God’s role in tragedy before God finally stepped in and reminded them that they were finite humans and He is infinite Ruler of the universe — and that they may simply have to trust Him in the matter (Job 38-42:6).

There is a positive note to this. Since God knows our limitations, He can handle our anger. He knows that in our grief and pain, anger is a natural reaction — and that we will often direct it at Him, regardless of whether that is rational or justified. 

Writers of Scripture experienced frustration and anger with God. Yet, He did not strike them down or pull away from them. (Moses; David in Ps. 22; Jonah).

So, you can be honest about your feelings with God — don’t carry guilt over that anger or worry that He will be angry with you. Don’t, however, hang onto that anger or let it fester and become bitterness (Eph. 4:26-27). 

Don’t let it drive you further from God. Rather let it be the impulse that drives you to cry out to God and to seek the rest, peace, and resolution that only He can provide when you are in pain (Mt. 11:28-30; Jn. 14:16-17, 23-27; Phil. 4:6-7).