Angry with God: Sinful?

This will be published in the Aug. 5 edition of The Waldron News.

Late last night, I was angry with God.
Actually, angry is an understatement. I was furious with him. The reason? I had just read a story from the Associated Press about a mother in Texas who mutilated, killed and cannibalized her son, Scotty Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez. He was three and a half weeks-old.
No I wasn't cursing God, or directly blaming him for this tragedy. Rather, I was angry that this terrible event happened and he seemingly did nothing to stop it.
"He wasn't even a month old God!" I angrily told him. "Why, with all of your power, could you not stop it? You could have done something to stop that. Why did you let this happen?"
Was I right to be angry with God? For so many years, I mistakenly believed that being angry with God was a sign that your faith was weak. I used to think that prayer was supposed to be 100 percent nice. 'You can be angry, but you'd better clean it up before you start talking to God. Prayer should be peaceful, not angry.'
What a foolish thought process that was.
Prayer is, by default, honesty. Being open and honest with God about your thoughts, feelings, and hopes is what constitutes quality prayer. Prayer is acknowledging your neediness and dependance on God. Nobody would ever suggest lying when you talk to God, so why lie about your feelings?
When I wrote about my feelings on my Twitter feed (twitter.com/dustinfaber, which also doubles as my Facebook status), I received an interesting response from someone saying I shouldn't blame God. This puzzled me, as questioning him isn't the same as blaming him. The way the person made it sound, any angry toward God was wrong.
Yeah, because is God is too fragile to handle our human anger. We as a society are conditioned that any display of anger will reflect negatively on our personalities and reputation. But anger shouldn't always be associated with negativity. Only sinful actions that stem from anger should be frowned upon.
I think Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. (Order of Friars Minor) made a great point in an article on the subject of anger and God.
"If someone is angry at God because of a personal or family tragedy, denying that anger may encourage a faith which "goes through the motions" without any deep, inner conviction," McCloskey wrote in The Catholic Update. "Such a person may not "lose" his or her faith in the sense of becoming an atheist but may settle for a faith which refuses to face life with any real depth or honesty."
When I think about following God, I think about growing stronger. Not by any power of mine, but through prayer and personal time with him. Letting him work in your life will obviously make you a better, stronger person. And if that's my goal, why would I settle for a pattern that deprives my faith of any depth and honesty?
The anger actually brought me closer to God. Instead of falling asleep watching the Fox Soccer Channel, I spent time flipping through the book of Psalms, finding one example after another of people who felt angry and hurt by what they perceived as God's failure to act.
"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" - Psalm 22
"Why, God, have you cast us off forever? Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture?" - Psalm 74
"Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Rise up! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide your face; why forget our pain and misery?" - Psalm 44
If being angry with God is sinful, these Psalms would seemingly have no place in Scripture. Yet, here they are for us to read. Writers who felt rejected by God and were furious with him didn't try to play nice out of respect for God. They let their true feelings flow through their words.
After reading them (something I didn't want to do at first because, for 15 minutes, I wanted NOTHING to do with a God who would allow so many bad things to happen), the anger subsided and turned into prayer and a deep sadness for the baby and his father.
I was reminded while reading and talking to God, once again, about the power of the cross, and how it can overcome the evil we see around us.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
When asked why a good God permits evil, the Rev. John Corapi hits the nail on the head.
"Jesus is a divine person who died and suffered through his own nature," Corapi said. "Creatures tortured the creator, that's the greatest evil imaginable. Yet that is the greatest good. The good of redemption. The paradox of the cross. Why does God permit evil? To draw a greater good out of it. If you know that, you are a wise person."
I am blessed to have God's guidance and presence in my life, and that I can be open and honest with him.
Even when I'm angry.


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    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

    If you're looking for gaming-centered posts, check out catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com. If you seek the blog I keep with my fiance, check out thecatholiclovebirds.blogspot.com

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