Drawing Near to God in Anger

Often times, we hear and see a sanitised version of how we are to approach God in prayer. Because He is the sovereign King over the universe as well as our caring Father, we need to pray in alignment with His will for our prayers to be answered. Even when evil befalls us, we try to convince ourselves that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). And we bury, even repress, our feelings and emotions deep within us.

But have you ever been angry at life or even secretly blame God for what you are going through in life? If you do, you are not alone. The Psalms essentially recorded prayers of God’s people in the Bible include many prayers in which raw emotions are felt, expressed, and directed to God and at God. Psalm 88 is one very good example. Reading through the psalm, we will quickly realise the depth of despondency and depression its author was suffering from. He expresses his dismay at his life situation (v3) and he blames God for them (vv.6-8). He didn’t just say, “My friends abandoned me.” He says to God, “You took my friends away from me” (v18). He also blames God for not answering his prayers (vv.13-14).

For the Bible to have psalms like Psalm 88 tells us that such complains to God are not censored. Our Father allows us, dare I even say, wants us, to go to Him with our feelings, be it our disappointments or anger at life, or even our disappointments and anger at Him. God is big enough to handle our emotions. After all, a caring father is interested in all that is going in his child’s life. Moreover, only when a child feels safe enough in the father-child relationship will he dare to be completely honest and open.

Bringing our anger to God and at God directly in prayer is more helpful than staying away from God because we are angry, just as it is better for a child to direct his anger at his parents than stonewalling them. Ironically, in doing so, we realise that we are not drawing away from God but growing closer to Him. Are you disappointed or angry at things, people, or even at God? You can bring them straight to God because of who He is to us.